Serving 4 Time 30 minutes
12 to 16 fresh whole sardines (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), scaled, cleaned, and rinsed
2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
3/4 cup extra- virgin olive oil
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Put sardines’ side by side on a clean kitchen towel (use can use paper towels) and carefully roll into a cylinder to remove excess moisture. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. It is important that the sardines are dry before adding the oil and seasoning.
Preheat a grill or broiler to high.
In a medium bowl, combine diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, olives, parsley, basil, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 /2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well. Set aside at room temperature until sardines are ready to be served.
Transfer sardines to a baking sheet and drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over them. Turn sardines in the oil to coat the other side. Oil grill grate (or broiler pan) before you begin cooking. Season sardines on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place directly on grill or broiler and cook, undisturbed, until skin is crispy and lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn sardines over and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
Place tomato mixture on a serving platter, arrange grilled sardines, season them a final time with sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle with remaining 1 /4 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 /4 cup olive oil. Serve immediately.