Here's the Dish

healthy ANDI licious

Crisp Wheat Toast with Wood Smoked Sardines March 9, 2012

Crisp Wheat Toast & Wood Smoked Sardines
with fresh dill & brown spicy mustard

Simple. Economical. Sustainable. Delicious.

I have been trying to find a way to enjoy sardines ever since I discovered the enormous nutritional powerhouse properties that these small fish deliver. I’ve broiled them with garlic, tossed them in pasta, seasoned them with lime juice and salsa and pan fried them for fish tacos, and–with great hesitation–have attempted to eat them straight from the tin. All attempt have been edible, some even good, but none delicious…. until now.

The little fish are a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids–three nutrients that most of us could use in greater quantities in our diets. Despite the popular perception that sardines have a high sodium content which renders them less healthful, it is only the varieties with added salt that contain high levels. You can pick up a tin of sardines in water with “no salt added” and sprinkle a light pinch of a course grain salt yourself to get the same flavor with very little sodium.

In Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, author Annie Murphy Paul describes her preferred sardine recipe: on a slice of buttered toast. Paul also was trying to get more of these little fish in her diet due to their low risk of mercury contamination compared to many other popular fish varieties. Her simple style of serving them gave me the idea to try sardines in this style.I nixed the butter and used brown spicy mustard and fresh dill.

Ingredients
for one serving

-1 slice fresh bread (toasted)
– 1 tsp brown spicy mustard
-fresh dill (to taste)
-1/3 tin (about 1.5 oz) sardines (not the kind with bones removed)

Method

Toast fresh bread to desired crispness. Spread the brown mustard across your freshly toasted slice and top with fresh dill and sardine fillets (straight from the tin or pan seared or broiled with garlic if preferred). Enjoy!

I decided to try Wood Smoked Wild Caught Brisling Sardines  hand packed in extra virgin olive oil this time by Crown Prince Natural. I have to say these were excellent but if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, opt for a “no salt added” variety instead.

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Hidden Supermarket Gems: Sardines October 26, 2010

If the idea of eating tiny cold fish from a tin doesn’t appeal to you, you’re not alone. When I mustered up the courage to open my first tin last summer I dreaded seeing fishy tails and heads staring up at me. This was not, of course, the case. The sardines actually came as fillets and looked a lot like a miniature version of any other fish I would buy fresh from the fish counter. Why, you might wonder, did I decide to try sardines in the first place? Well, for numerous reasons which I will detail below, sardines appear to be one of the healthiest fish, and foods for that matter, sold in supermarkets.

These little fish are packed with nutrients that many of us need more of in our diets: calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you already know and love sardines, consider yourself lucky. These little fish are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, bone-building mineral calcium, and calcium-enhancing vitamin D. They are a very inexpensive, easy-to-store, source of protein. You can eat them right out of the can and use them in anything you would use canned tuna for (such as on salads, in sandwiches, on crackers) but unlike tuna, sardines are very small fish and have less chance of accumulating biotoxins or being exposed to mercury.

As wonderful as the benefits of eating sardines sounded to me, the idea of eating them cold from a can still didn’t sound so tempting. I did a quick online search for sardine recipes and found one that showed them broiled for a few minutes with herbs and lemon juice. This, I decided, would make them taste the same as the other fish I knew and liked.  The result: a success. Sardines are now a regular part of my menu. I still haven’t tried them cold but they are really very tasty when cooked and seasoned.

Try it At Home:

Buy a tin of sardines next time you visit the supermarket. (They are usually found near canned tuna.) To broil, set your oven on a high temp of 500ºF. Place the sardines on a baking tray and add olive oil, herbs (dill works well), a splash of lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. It only takes about 5-7 minutes for them to become slightly crisp.

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