Grilled Harissa Sardines


When it comes to fish I have to admit that one of my favourite ways to cook fish is grilling. All the flavours and juices, combined with lemon and olive oil make this food heavenly.

Sardines make me think of Greece and its islands, sunny lazy afternoons, hiding in the shade behind an ice cold lemonade… So let’s get down to Earth, and here I am in my cozy kitchen trying to bring Mediterranean treasures on my table: Grilled Harissa Sardines, served with couscous.

Harissa is a Tunisian hot chilli pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, garlic and other hot chilli peppers.You can make your own Harissa, and I’ll show you in a future post how, or you can buy canned Harissa from local Middle Eastern stores. The sweet and spicy Harissa taste mix well with the salty sardines, and the minty couscous make this arabic dish so good and full of aroma. Made from simple ingredients, for this dish you will need good quality fresh sardines from local fish markets.

Sardines (or pilchards) are small fish that grow up to a maximum of 10 in (25cm). They are commonly eaten canned or fresh. If you will try with frozen sardines they will not keep their shape when grilled and the result will be… You’ll figure that out, right? So let’ s get to work.

Grilled Harissa Sardines

By July 24, 2015

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 20 minutes


Make sure your sardines are nicely gutted and scaled, wash in cold water and than let rest, wrapped in kitchen towels until they are dry. Season with salt and pepper.


Heat up a griddle pan over high heat, when hot, rub some olive oil into the sardines and add them to the griddle pan. Cook over high heat for about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile put the couscous in a bowl and pour over about a cup of hot boiling water (about 250ml)and cover with a plate and let cook itself for about 10 minutes.


Mix the Harissa paste with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, and brush the sardines with your Harissa sauce.

Next, turn your sardines over in the pan then brush them gently with the Harissa sauce, using a small kitchen brush. If you like them very hot you can rub a thick layer of Harissa sauce. Cook for another 3 minutes then remove from the pan and sprinkle with some olive oil and the juice from your other lemon half.

Remove the couscous lid and mix using a fork, sprinkle the chopped fresh mint and chives, add olive oil and some lemon juice.

Serve Grilled Harissa Sardines with couscous , while still warm, next to a glass of white wine and don’t forget to pay attention to sardines bones :))

grilled-harissa sardines

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