Sunday, August 22, 2010


I ate my very first sardine (or should I say tin of sardines) on Tuesday.  As an RD I know that they are a good source of omega 3s, protein, and calcium but I'd never been overly interested in trying them. My grandma used to feed them to my cousin, but never offered them to me....I'll have to ask her about this. Earlier this summer I came across several recipes using sardines, and even heard an episode of Splendid Table where they were discussed.  So naturally I figured it was time to get over my fear of tiny fish and try them.  I did a little research and figured that the oil packed ones were the best way to go for the first time.  I also read several recommendations to stay away from the "cheap" brands and be willing to spend a couple $ on a tin. (King Oscar cost about $3.50 per tin)

While Ryan was away this week I mustered up the courage to make something with my sardines.  For some reason I thought they still had heads and couldn't quite picture myself eating them on crackers while they were staring up at me; which is apparently the most popular way to eat them.  Surprise! they don't have heads.  But below is the basic recipe I followed in order to create a sauce to cover up my now headless fishies.

1 tin sardines packed in olive oil
1 small onion diced
1 clove of garlic minced or pressed
1 tbs flour
Salt, Pepper, Chili flakes, Fresh parsley or dill, oregano, thyme
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs panko bread crumbs
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese
Favorite crackers or toast triangles

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, when hot add the oil from the sardines.  Sauté the onion until translucent.  Approximately 8 minutes, add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Add the flour and cook till lightly brown.  Stir in the milk and bring to a simmer until the sauce thickens.  During this time add any other seasonings you like.  Place sardines in an oven safe dish and pour prepared sauce over them.  Top with the bread crumbs and cheese.  Broil in an oven until the top is browned.  Serve with crackers or toast triangles.

This recipe can easily be doubled and serve approximately 6 people.  This would actually be a very good appetizer if you were hosting a dinner party.  I didn't use all of the sauce, and since it was my dinner I ate the whole tin of sardines along with some leftover potatoes.  I used my leftover sauce to make some salmon salad today and served it over a bed of romaine lettuce and leftover onions and peppers from Thursday night's dinner.  Sometimes the best way to save a dollar is to combine several leftovers into one meal.

 Nutritionally speaking the whole dish (minus crackers or toast) contains 360 kcals, 12g fat (9 of which is unsaturated), 30g carbohydrate, 32g protein, 2g fiber, and 660 mg sodium.  Amazingly it also provides more than 100% of your daily value for vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and selenium.  This is great since for the most part, almost every American is vitamin D deficient.   Vitamin D deficiency is now being linked not only to osteoporosis and other bone diseases, but also to diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer.  This dish is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamin, and zinc.  These little fishies pack quite the nutritional punch.  If you like tuna and/or canned salmon, you will more than likely enjoy sardines.  So eat up!

1 comment:

  1. Brenna, I can't believe you never had sardines! Where did we fail you?