July sees the best of the sardine season – and lucky that is as they are perfect on the barbecue. Sardines, named after Sardinia, are actually young pilchards and are one of the 'oily fish' doctors and nutritionists recommend we eat to keep our hearts healthy.
They are eaten across the globe, notably popular in Kerala in India, in Brittany in France and Portugal. They have been consumed for thousands of years – the islands of Croatia in the Adriatic were originally part of the Roman Empire and have always been sustained by sardine fishing.
If you get the chance to eat them within hours of the catch, they are a unequalled treat – on the coast of Morocco they are grilled almost straight of the fishing boats eaten with a salade Morocaine, chopped tomatoes, shallots and lemon juice.
Try them devilled, seasoned with cayenne, mustard, Worcestershire sauce then grilled and traditionally served on toast. And sleep easy – sardines are on the sustainable list.