Sardines with chermoula

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

This fresh, flavour-packed chermoula is a perfect match for sardines with with spicy harissa (which is now available from most larger supermarkets). Chermoula is a marinade used a lot in Moroccan cooking.


Try this recipe for sardines with chermoula, then check out our grilled sardines, sardine spaghetti, sardines on toast and more sardine recipes.



  • sardines 12, scaled and gutted
  • harissa 2-3 tbsp, to serve


  • mint small bunch
  • coriander large bunch
  • red onion 1 small, peeled and quartered
  • garlic 3 cloves, peeled
  • ground cumin 1 tsp
  • red chilli 1, cut into short lengths
  • lemon ½, juiced
  • flaked sea salt 1 tsp
  • olive oil 7 tbsp


  • Step 1

    First, make the chermoula. Take the leaves from the mint stalks but leave the coriander whole. Put both in a food processor along with the onion, garlic, cumin seeds, chilli and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and add the olive oil.

  • Step 2

    Blitz until the mixture is well blended and almost creamy in texture. You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times with a spatula until you get the right consistency.

  • Step 3

    Cut the head off each sardine and trim off the fins. Place each sardine on its opened-out belly and press gently along its back to loosen the spine. Turn over and gently lift out the spine and rib bones all the way to the tail, using a small knife if it’s particularly stubborn. Put the flat opened sardine fillets in a shallow dish and cover with the chermoula. Turn to coat a couple of times, then cover and chill for an hour or so.

  • Step 4

    Lift the sardines one at a time from the marinade, smoothing off any excess by sliding your fingers down the length of each fish. Cook over a hot barbecue for about 3 minutes on each side. Alternatively, use a large hot non-stick frying pan lightly greased with a little oil. Cook in batches, starting skin-side down, for about 1-2 minutes on each side until nicely browned and charred in places. Dot with harissa and serve with a little moroccan-style salad (made from iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion and olives and dressed with a little more cumin, chilli oil and lemon).

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 486
  • Fat 36.1g
  • Carbs 2.5g
  • Fibre 0.3g
  • Protein 38g
  • Salt 0.81g