If you'd told me three years ago--or even three months ago--that I'd be writing these words, I'd have laughed, too. In fact, recently my mother was visiting and came across them in my pantry. She was shocked and... well let's just say she wasn't excited or eager to open up a box. I told her not to worry and she'd soon read about my foray into the world of sardines.
You can thank these ladies (Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe) for putting sardines on my radar as a health food. Yes, apparently sardines are incredibly nutritious! Further research revealed that they're rich in many vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and even provide about 32% of your recommended daily intake of calcium and half the daily value for DHA and EPA, two crucial types of Omega-3 fatty acids. All this nutrition in such a tiny package... it's no wonder that they made it onto a 2008 New York Times Well list of The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating.
My box boasted that its "sardines provide 3 times more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more iron than cooked spinach, as much protein as steak, and as much potassium as bananas." They also mention the Omega 3s, vitamin B12, selenium, and vitamin D, as well as Coenzyme Q10.
Canned fish is thus a convenient source of protein (one little can provides over 30 grams of protein!!), and I've already shared my affinity for quick and easy meals made with canned tuna and salmon. Sardines don't even need a fork, because they come intact, which, yes, could be weird. Fortunately, the cans I bought had the little guys beheaded already, so their little faces weren't looking up at me.
Opening it up...
BEWARE! Water. Not unlike other canned fish, but the water came out immediately and began overflowing a bit. Be warned.
Dress it up:
First, my typical way. Insert sardines into dijon-avocado salad in place of other canned fish.
It was actually pretty good! If my eyes were closed and you told me it was tuna, I'd have believed you! Guess I liked it well enough...
Next: Marinara! You can find some sardines packaged not in water or oil, but in a marinara sauce! Mmm...
I've also paired it with leftover zucsketti! Use your spiral slicer to make grain-free zucchini spaghetti, and then mix it up with your new favorite food, sardines!
Do YOU dare to eat sardines?
How do you flavor and prepare them?