In some cultures fresh sardines are cooked and consumed whole, but gutting them is also very easy. Simply pinch the head at the gills on either side and pull away from the rest of the fish. The guts will likely come away with the head. If not, you may have to use a pairing knife to slit the bottom of the fish and pull them out from there.
To scale sardines, put them in a bowl of water and rub the scales off with your fingers.
Fresh sardines can be grilled (often on skewers), pickled, fried, baked, broiled or smoked. Many cultures coat them in bread crumbs before cooking or toast breadcrumbs separately for a crunchy topping after cooking.
Because they are oily, sour ingredients like lemon, vinegar and dry white wine help balance them. Other complimentary flavors include garlic, fennel, tomatoes, pine nuts, saffron & fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage).
Grilled Sardines Recipe