This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more
Bring to life a fresh, briny, and zesty dish packed with nutrients courtesy of our Portuguese canned sardines recipe, pairing one of the country’s most popular kinds of seafood with some classic Mediterranean staples.
Portuguese Canned Sardines with Chives, Olive Oil, and Bread
Canned sardines are a beloved staple in cuisines across the world, and Portugal has a special place in its heart for this rich, briny fish.
When canned in their various marinades, you can absolutely eat them on their own, but a little creativity and know-how in the kitchen is all you need for some truly delicious combinations.
Canned Sardines in Portuguese Cuisine
Naturally, with the Atlantic Ocean lapping the entire west coast of Portugal, seafood is abundant in Portuguese cuisine, and, in particular, sardines.
With their vast health benefits, being rich in so many vitamins and minerals, sardines are a common sight in plenty of Portuguese tascas, seafood restaurants, festivals, and any outdoor grill or event.
However, seafood sometimes isn’t for the faint-hearted, and cooking and preparing whole seafood can be challenging when you’re new to the food. Hence canned sardines, and other types of canned seafood, are a simple, easy, and delicious way to try the various types of seafood in Portuguese cuisine.
Great for a souvenir, quick and easy meals, and to avoid any cooking, you won’t have to wander around a Portuguese food market or supermarket for long to come across canned sardines.
Typically, the sardines will be prepared (this often means removing the head, gills, and organs) and cooked beforehand, then tightly packaged (hence the expression ‘packed like sardines in a tin’) in the likes of olive oil, sunflower oil, water, and many other preserves or sauces in rectangular tins. However, this isn’t always the case, so be sure to ask someone if you are not sure about the preparation of the seafood.
There are also restaurants, such as Sol e Pesca in Lisbon, that not only sell canned sardines and other seafood but will also prepare dishes with the seafood you just bought, if you wish.
This is largely what inspired our canned sardines recipe, and once you delve into this world of canned seafood in Portugal, there really is no end to the flavors you can try. The packaging is also incredibly beautiful, and you can often end up just looking at the beautiful designs and reading the labels for hours on end!
To make our canned sardines recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Portuguese Canned Sardines (in Olive Oil) – 2 tins (4.2 oz/120 grams each)
- Bread – 2 rolls (cut in half) or 4 slices of crusty bread (ciabatta, sourdough, or baguette)
- Lemon – 1 small lemon
- Garlic Cloves – 2 small garlic cloves
- Fresh Chives – 10 chives (or about 5 grams)
Step 1 – Toast the bread.
Step 2 – Rub half a garlic clove on each slice of bread.
Step 3 – Add the canned sardines on top of the toasted bread.
Step 4 – Sprinkle freshly cut chives and drizzle the olive oil from the tins of sardines.
Step 5 – Add some lemon zest on top (using a microplane zester).
Step 6 – Finally, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top.
While we won’t delve too deep into the vast world of sardine recipes, here are a few additional considerations and ideas for serving them.
Tortilla Chips – If the bread is too heavy, consider serving your canned sardines with a side of tortilla chips, or some type of cracker.
Pasta – There are plenty of pasta dishes, especially spaghetti, that use sardines, such as Sicilian pasta con le sarde, among many others.
Rice – You could take some influence from Japanese cuisine, where canned sardines are added to rice bowls with ingredients such as ginger, chili, garlic, spring onion, and soy sauce.
Salad – There are plenty of fresh, green salads that can be the perfect bed on which to lay canned sardines.
Portuguese Canned Sardines Recipe Card
- 2 tins (4.2 oz/120 grams each) Portuguese canned sardines (in olive oil)
- 2 bread rolls (cut in half) or 4 slices of crusty bread (ciabatta, sourdough, or baguette)
- 1 small lemon (for the juice and zest)
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 10 chives (about 5 grams)
- Toast the bread.
- Rub half a garlic clove on each slice of bread.
- Add the canned sardines on top of the toasted bread.
- Sprinkle freshly cut chives and drizzle the olive oil from the tins of sardines.
- Add some lemon zest on top (using a microplane zester).
- Finally, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top.
You Might Also Like to Read
- 18 Most Popular Portuguese Foods You Simply Must Try
- 16+ Portuguese Drinks to Enjoy in the Mediterranean Sun
- 10+ Portuguese Cheeses to Slice, Stuff, Melt, and Devour
Save and Pin for Later
Intrigued to try canned sardines? Keep this recipe for safekeeping by saving it to one of your food ideas boards.