2 lbs fresh sardines (about 3 large or 4 medium sardines per person)
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove
salt (as needed)
Heat grill to medium-high. Rub salt and red pepper flakes inside the body cavities of sardines. Season modestly, as the caper pesto will bring a good dose of salt to the final dish.
Blend capers, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil in mortar or food processor. Brush grill grate with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Grill sardines for 2-3 minutes per side. Do not overcook, as they will begin to get mushy and loose their firm texture.
Remove sardines from grill and transfer to serving plate. Spread the pesto evenly over each sardine. This is meant to be a “loose” pesto (rather than thick) to allow the olive oil to carry the intense flavor of capers and lemon as it drizzles over the fish.
Serve with long-grained rice and a simple green salad to contrast the full flavor of the sardines and the intense flavor of the pesto.