The Sardine Experiment: Part Three
How to Eat Sardines
After last week’s sardine taste-testing, wherein many a sardine was eaten plain, on a cracker, with and without mustard, I finally got a little creative with the fishes and tried several recipes that also included such delights as capers, olives, tomatoes, eggplant, and long skinny noodles.
It was exceptionally disappointing.
Despite a growing affection for sardines and an existing passion for capers, olives, tomatoes, eggplant, and long skinny noodles, only one of my dishes could be described as anything beyond “interesting”.
However, it cemented the idea in my tiny pea-brain that sardines are best served simply, on something crisp, and with a generous adornment of some pungent, vinegary condiment.
The tinned sardine is a beautiful thing when left to its own devices.
Please try sardines on crackers with Colman’s mustard. Or perhaps with spicy horseradish. And please remember to have out the Sriracha and Tabasco sauces. Put out some fat green olives and pickled peppers for a sardine antipasti. Here is a recipe for gremolata, a fresh condiment of Milan, which I found complemented sardines and crusty bread exquisitely.
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half the lemon)
- 1 chile de arbol, crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (may omit if you like)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Combine the zest, garlic, salt and lemon juice with a fork until the salt is dissolved.
- Add everything else and mix well.
- Spoon some on a piece of bread, then top with a sardine and eat it.
And here is the one sardine recipe I really enjoyed.
You really want the whole sardines for this recipe, bones and all. Boneless sardines are far too delicate for the rolling and dredging. Also, if you can’t find panko bread crumbs in the Asian foods section of your grocery store, try using finely crushed cracker crumbs instead. I tried this with regular breadcrumbs, too, and it was not nearly as good.
- 1 tin of sardines in oil or water
- 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (if using sardines in water)
- Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees F.
- Drain the sardines. (My dog Goldie LOVES the sardine water!)
- [Coat them in oil if you are using water-packed sardines.]
- Roll in crumbs and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the crumbs are nice and brown.
- Serve with hot mustard, a high-horseradish cocktail sauce, or soy sauce for dipping.
Thanks to my pal Great Stone Face for this recipe!
I’ll continue to experiment with variations and make sure to holla atcha if I discover any gems! Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with regular Tuesday episodes on September 20!