Los Angeles’ Ori Menashe likes to wrap sardines in grape leaves and char them on the grill—a Turkish method that perfumes the fish and keeps them incredibly moist.
2 cups canola oil
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
¼ cup minced parsley
4 preserved lemons, seeded and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
16 fresh sardines, cleaned, rinsed, and dried
32 grape leaves, packed in brine, rinsed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Simmer canola oil and garlic cloves in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-low; cook until garlic is tender, 35-40 minutes. Drain, reserving oil for brushing sardines; let garlic cool. Stir garlic, preserved lemon, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stuff each sardine with about 1 tbsp. garlic mixture. Working with 1 sardine and 2 grape leaves at a time, wrap sardine in grape leaf (see how to stuff grape leaves), securing with a toothpick. Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Brush sardines with reserved oil; grill, flipping once, until slightly charred and cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.