Sardines can be used for salads, sandwiches, appetizers, stews, and even omelets. Though small, these fish have a powerful flavor and are available in a number of sauces to suit any dish. They are commonly available frozen or canned in either water or oil.
Sardines are a good source of calcium, protein, iron, phosphorus, and essential Omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, they are high in fat, cholesterol, and possibly sodium, depending on their packaging.
Using Sardines in Recipes
Some of the most popular methods for preparing sardines are:
To keep sardine recipes as healthy as possible, always rinse fish packed in oil prior to use and do not add the canned oil to the recipe. The canned oil has a powerful flavor that will overshadow other ingredients and make the dish too "fishy." The oil is suitable to add to salad dressings, pasta salads, and other dishes that do not actually use the fish, however. The natural sweetness of the fish pairs well with bitter greens and dishes incorporating sharp tastes such as mustard or dill.
Easy Sardine Recipes
Sardines can be used in a variety of recipes and are very easy to prepare. Try the following recipes that use sardines as the star ingredient:
- 4 whole fresh sardines
- 1 large lemon cut in wedges
- Fresh parsley sprigs
- Preheat a grill to 350 degrees.
- Place sardines on grill and brush with olive oil.
- Grill 4 minutes on each side.
- Remove sardines from heat and place on a serving platter.
- Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon over the sardines.
- Garnish with remaining lemon wedges and a sprig of fresh parsley.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 whole, fresh sardines
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Heat olive oil on medium in a heavy bottom pan.
- Rinse sardines and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Dredge sardines in flour, making sure to shake off any excess.
- Place sardines in hot oil and fry on each side until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Transfer sardines to a platter and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
Beet and Sardine Salad
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus a sprig to use as garnish
- 1 jar pickled sliced beets, drained
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 can sardines in oil, drained
- In a bowl, combine sour cream, horseradish, dill, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Cut beets into small cubes and toss with oil and a pinch salt to taste.
- Transfer beets to a platter and then top with the sardines.
- Add the sour cream mixture to the top of the sardines.
- Garnish with fresh dill.
Simple Sardine Salad
- 2 tins boneless, skinless sardines packed in olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup drained and finely chopped pickles
- 1 sliced avocado
- 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices of toasted whole grain bread
- Remove sardines from tin, draining oil. Pick through to remove any bones or skin, if needed.
- In a bowl, combine sardines, mayonnaise and pickles. Mix until well combined.
- Lay out 4 slices of bread and top with a spoonful of the sardine salad.
- Garnish each with a slice of avocado, tomato, arugula, and egg.
- Sprinkle each with salt and pepper then finish with the remaining slices of bread.
Make Use of Leftovers
Leftover sardines have a number of uses, such as:
- Sardines can be crushed and mixed into a paste along with other seasonings, and served as an appetizer with crackers or toast.
- Sardine flakes can be used to garnish salads or mixed into eggs.
- In small amounts, they can even be ground and added to other meats to take advantage of their nutritional value without too many added calories.
Widespread and versatile, sardines are swimming their way onto more and more menus. If you have been hesitant to try sardines, consider making one of many recipes to discover if you are fond of the taste.