Fish are always welcome at Casa O. We are big fans of salmon, cod, sole, haddock, and tuna (though not so much lately, because of the mercury content). Red snapper was served at our wedding (with a mango lime salsa — incredible).
But the realm of fish stretches far and wide, and sometimes we feel the need to branch out. And so, we are proud to announce that we overcame our reservations and tried:
My grandfather has apparently been extolling the virtues of this small fish to my dad for years. Sardines have lots of omega-3s, even more than salmon, and lots of Vitamin D. Plus, they’re low on the food chain, so the risk of mercury buildup is small.
So what were our reservations about eating sardines? For one thing, Mr. O had only ever seen his grandfather eat them, with their fishy heads and scales still attached. Fishy heads and bones and scales, it turns out, are not appealing to Mr. O. They’re not too appealing to me either, but my reservations were founded in the simple fact that I had no idea what to do with a sardine.
Then I read a recipe for a sandwich (although “recipe” is really the wrong word when it comes to sandwiches; “list of things to smush together” would be more appropriate) that called for either chicken breast or sardines. The rest of the sandwich fixings sounded tasty enough to be eaten alone if the sardine thing didn’t work out, so it was off to the grocery store for us.
Happily, in our local Trader Joe’s we found a tin of boneless, skinless sardines. Head, bone, scale problems = solved! The sardines looked innocuous in their tin, and when flaked with a fork, looked even more innocuous and very much like darker canned salmon or tuna.
We took a test taste before adding the sardines to the sandwiches. You know how pork used to be called “the other white meat”? We’ve decided that sardines are “the other canned fish.” Mr. O pronounced them “more potent tuna.” I pronounce them delicious.
As usual, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Some changes: bagels instead of hamburger buns, red onion instead of white, cherry tomatoes in place of regular tomatoes, more avocado, lemon vinaigrette on the greens, and flaked sardines instead of whole sardines.
We loved the sandwiches — and the author of the recipe was right: homemade beans are much better than canned beans (the extra beans are destined for quinoa salad).
We’ll be trying sardines in more recipes soon!
P.S. Dunder, Mifflin, and their fishy friends are doing just fine.