Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sardines


I've never really loved sardines, but I can't say that I've ever hated them either. In fact, I think until last week, I'd only heard of their repulsive redolence (I thesaurused odor) in legend. A few weeks ago, Alton Brown did an episode of Good Eats in which he outlined approaches for healthful eating. He spiced some almonds and made a smoothie, but what really stood out was his use of sardines. He praised sardines, citing their health benefits and flavor and nearly begging the audience to give these fishies at the bottom of the food chain another chance.

He marinated them with sherry vinegar and some of the oil from their can (buy ones in oil) and made them into a sandwich with avocado. I tried this recipe and loved it, and found that marinating them is key--the acid completely brightens the fishy flavor and the buttery avocado. The toasted bread provides some texture.

I really enjoy sardines now and have been thinking of new ways to use them. Here I marinated them with sherry vinegar, mustard and oil, then tossed in some broccoli that I roasted at 450 for twenty minutes, some peanuts, some red onion, some feta cheese, and some avocado... and it was heaven. Enhanced with some acid, sardines are savory, satisfying and salubrious (I thesaurused healthful) and are even part of a sustainable lifestyle because they are at the bottom of the food chain and therefore use up negligible amounts of resources (wow, English teacher would kill me if she saw me adding new information in the conclusion). Do give them at least chance ;)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to try sardines - seeing them all over. My dad used to eat them on saltines with hot sauce (and maybe something else) when I was little. You've inspired me -

continued good job you're doing with the blog!

James said...

Yep - oily fish once a week. Vit A & D, Omega 3 etc it's a must. Sardines in tomato on buttery toast - an english high tea (and one of my gran's too) classic. Grilled fresh sardines tho - garlic, lemon & olive oil - that's where it's at.

Tags said...

I saw that show, too. I thought Alton looked, while not quite emaciated, a bit gaunt. I hope he finds a happy medium between overweight and how he looked on that show.

And most of all I wish him good health.

mike3k said...

Sardines were one of the very few fishes my father would eat (he didn't even eat tuna). I haven't had them since I left home.

PIE-3.14 said...

Ooo I enjoy Alton Brown shows too! Redolence usually means a "good smell"... guess sardines smell redolent to you now :)

Daniella said...

I love sardines in oil. I am excited to try them marinated now, as I was looking for a way to change things up with these little fishys - thanks!

yummy2tummy said...

I haven't had sardines in ages. My mother use to make it with potatoes and onions. Yummy!

Molly said...

I'm all about anchovies, but have never tried sardines. Right now I'm really into roasted broccoli, cauliflower and chickpeas with a dijon vinaigrette and maybe some warmed goat cheese. I'll take a chance next time and add some sardines. Thanks for the word of the day! Gotta love the thesaurus.

joyciel said...

Ah yes! I loved that recipe! Even my fish-phobic bf liked them!

cook eat FRET said...

good advice. there's a can hiding in my pantry... the question now is - which are the best?

we are never full said...

it took me 2 trips to europe, a husband who adores them and a will to try to fall head over heels in love with both sardines and anchovy. there is nothing more amazing then fresh sardines or anchovy simply fried with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. it is the most simple of recipes and one of the finest.

BUT, i'm sure you also know of the famous sicilian pasta dish with currants (or raisins), pine nuts, breadcrumbs and sardines. ohhhh so fine. give that a try if you haven't already.

great job trying new things - that's what life's (and cooking's) all about!

Amy said...

The first time I ever had sardines was Nov 2008 on a trip to France. I was staying in a place right at a marina in the South of France and was hanging out around the fishing boats one afternoon. The guys were making some kind of sandwich and offered some to me. It was a great lightly fried fish in warm bread with fresh lettuce & tomato. I was surprised when they told me it was sardines. They could help laughing when I asked "you mean the things in the tin?" The response was, "No the things from the ocean this morning."

I still haven't tackled making them myself, but might have to do that soon.

michael-brendan said...

Im reading your blog for the first time, having heard you today on Chefs Table on NPR. As for sardines, I eat them per dietary recommendation of a doctor (Nicholas Perricone), but I do not like the smell or taste, so I swallow them like a pill with some diet coke. I do love how satiated they make one feel.

Just Hooking Up said...

Nice blog and love you passion for food.

here...let me give you a very very simple indian recipe that you may like. Best with oily fishes. Sardines, anchovies, catfish anything with high oil content, or then, any fish for that matter.

1. Marinade fish with oil, turmeric, salt for 20 mins. The turmeric coats the fish and it will not lose moisture. Will give a great flavor too.

2. Make raw sauce first. For 1lbs of sardines or any other fish, use 1TBS of whole mustard seeds. Make a powder in a coffee grinder and transfer to a small blender. Add to the mustard powder, green jalapenos (as much as you can tolerate for 1 lbs of fish. I use 2 with the seeds, but i am a crazy indian) salt, turmeric 1/4 tsp, 1/4 tsp sugar, couple of tsp of lemon juice. Blend with some water to make thickish paste. Reserve.

3. In a frying pan, use some canola oil (in bengal, where this recipe comes from it is common to use mustard oil) when it heats drop a 1/4 tsp of onion seeds (kalonji). Once they stop foaming, add sardines and let them fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the mustard sauce to the frying fish and a touch of water to loosen the sauce. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Adjust for salt. If you like fish and mustard and a palate that appreciates flavors from the east, you will love this really simple dish...good luck with your foodie adventures...JH