You might have some preconceived notions about canned sardines.
And there’s nothing we can really do about that.
Because see, we can tell you how incredibly healthy sardines are, especially when you swallow them whole, soft bones and all right out of the can. (We do that. Often.) They are, as so many fish are, a great source of protein, as well as one of the richest sources of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, compounds that promote cardiovascular health.
We can even tell you that sardines are not only healthy for you, but your consuming them is healthier for the environment than if you were say, consuming tuna for the same kinds of nutrients.
But you’re still going to read/hear “sardines,” and picture nothing but those little silvery-blue (“blue!” which is why we get to include them in our Eating Rainbow series), stinky fishy fish in your head.
That’s ok. Go ahead and think of that.
And then we’re going to show you the Tartines we made based on a recipe from Salad as a Meal — thin, crisp toasts drizzled with gorgeous, glittering olive oil, slathered with bright, sharp herbs, layered with sweet, ripe, juicy tomatoes (or nectarines in our allergically leaning case), then topped with rich, salty fillets of sardines, the perfect thing to complement the other sharp, sweet and tart flavors on the bread.
And then you might read/hear “sardines,” and you’ll think of that.
Sardine Tartines with Herb Spread, Tomatoes, and Mixed Greens
from Salad as a Meal by Particia Wells
handful of mixed fresh sharp herb leaves, such as coriander, fennel, basil and tarragon (we used parsley, basil and tarragon)
2 tablespoons oil drained from canned sardines (or extra virgin olive oil)
2 shallots, trimmed, peeled, halved and minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 whole sardines, filleted, or 2 tins top-quality sardine fillets packed in olive oil
8 slices multi-grain sourdough bread, toasted
16 thin slices ripe heirloom tomatoes
fresh fennel fronds or parsley leaves, for garnish
about 4 cups mixed salad greens
classic vinaigrette or dressing of choice (obviously, we used Green Goddess, even though it’s not technically a “vinagirette”)
Prepare the Herb Spread:
In the food processor or blender, combine the herbs and the sardine oil. Puree. Transfer to a small bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the shallots, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to blend. Place the sardine fillets, skin side down, on a flat, shallow dish. Scatter with the shalltot mixture. (Store the sardines, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.)
Spread the toasts with the herb spread. Arrange the tomato slices on top and season with salt and pepper. Place 2 sardine fillets, skin side up, on top of the tomatoes. Garnish with the fennel fronds or parsley. In a large bowl, toss th mixed greens with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. Arrange the dressed mixed greens alongside and serve.
To Clean Fresh Sardines:
First rinse them under cold running water, rubbing the scales off. Twist the heads off, pulling the guts with them, and discard. With your fingertips, press down on the belly side, pressing each sardine open like a book. Gently pull up the central bone from head to tail, being careful not to tear the flesh. With scissors, detach the bone from the flesh. Discard the bone. Open the sardine flat. Cut each one into 2 fillets.
A nice white loves sardines. Try a crispy Muscadet-sur-Lie, form the Melon de Bourgogne grape.