S.A.L.T. Festive Feast: Malaga-Style Sardines

While holiday travel remains complicated for many of us this year, there’s no restriction on where a little imagination and inspiration can take us in the kitchen. Looking forward to the Summer 2022 European Grand Voyage itinerary on Silver Moon, we reached out to a few chefs and culinary authorities along the route to find out what tastes and traditions they’re excited about and how we can bring some of that local flavor to our own holiday tables. From sunny Malaga in southern Spain, the traditional grilled sardines add an exquisite touch to ring in the new year.

In Malaga, A New Year’s Tradition

Asked about the holidays in Malaga, New York-based chef and restaurateur Alex Raij, owner of some of New York’s most respected Spanish restaurants, including La Vara, Txikito and Saint Julivert Fisherie, thought of sardines and sherry. “You can’t go to Malaga and not indulge in the tradition of grilled sardines beach-side. Start with the sardines and then follow with New Year’s Even campanadas,” she said of the local tradition of eating grapes as a countdown to midnight.

“These are easy to make at home since you don’t need to do much cleaning. You just need to be comfortable pinching your fish on the bone and sopping up the juices with grilled bread.” Raij, also the author of The Basque Book adds, “enjoy with Manzanilla Sherry for the win”

Ingredients:

  • 12 fresh Sardines (I calculate 3 per person)
  • 4 large slices good boule shaped bread or 12 slices baguette cut on bias.
  • 1 cup salt
  • 5 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked sea salt
  • Garlic clove

Method:

  1. Rinse the sardines under cold running water massaging gently to release the scales (which are edible if you are grilling outdoors or indoors)
  2. Dissolve salt in water and soak the sardines in salted water 10 minutes
  3. Pat the sardines dry
  4. Prepare your grill or grill pan to medium hot
  5. Grill or char the bread, then rub with garlic clove to perfume it
  6. Drizzle the bread with good quality Spanish olive oil
  7. Brush sardines with just a little oil and grill for a few minutes on each side and top with a pinch of smoked sea salt
  8. Serve the sardines atop the toast to catch the juices
  9. Enjoy with Manzanilla Sherry for the win

Hungry for more? Don’t miss our holiday recipes for Faroese roast duck and Sicilian buccellati cookies. We look forward to going back to sailing as soon as possible. Until then, we hope these dishes bring a bit of much needed flavor of the world to your table and make your holidays more transporting and delicious.