Recipes for canned sardines

I’ve been trying to add more fish to my diet. It’s been hit-or-miss, due partly to the lack of a decent fish store in my neighborhood, and partly to my husband’s not being the biggest pescatarian. I’ve been trying out various environmentally friendly (AFAIK), relatively available fish, all to no avail (he’ll eat it, but then gently inform me after dinner that ‘that wasn’t his favorite’)… until today! Canned sardines were on sale last week, so I picked some up, and today tried out the only canned-sardine recipe in any of my admittedly vegetarian-leaning cookbooks: Sicilian Style Pasta with Sardines, which also involves fennel, onions, wine, raisins, bread crumbs, and pine nuts (I subbed in slivered almonds, which worked well.) I received actual applause from Mr. GilaB after dinner, and a request for more sardine dinners.

Any suggestions? We’re not big fans of tomatoes, but we love almost all other vegetables, eat a ton of whole grains and beans (dinner today was made with whole wheat spaghetti), and love strongly flavored foods from a wide variety of cultures. We keep kosher, so no shellfish, bacon, etc.

The sardines in tomato sauce or mustard dumped into a boiling pot or ramen noodles.

A few problems:

[li]Ramen isn’t necessarily kosher. (Most packages lack that little “K” thingy.)[/li][li]It stinks to high heaven. May not be a problem, since you both like fish, but for people with roommates, it will cause shouting.[/li][li]It’s more of a snack, less of a meal.[/li][/ul]

I find ramen (at least the kosher brands) unutterably foul, but Mr. GilaB likes it. Generally, I’m looking for something less convenience-food, with more unprocessed ingredients.

This one is very convenience-food, sorry: plonk a couple of slices in the toaster. While it toasts, open the can of sardines and inspect the fishes, opening them up: finish any cleaning off which wasn’t done in the factory (many brands leave the spines in, the lazy bums). Either place the half-sardines directly onto the toast and proceed to eat, or cut an over-ripe tomato in half through its equator, smoosh it thoroughly onto the toast (toast+tomato = pà amb tomàquet, pamtomaca) and then add the sardines. I know you said you’re not fans of tomatoes, but I thought I’d add that detail for those who are.

Rice cooked with sliced garlic (optional) and chunks of sardine.

My roomie makes some sort of potato casserole with little canned dead yucky fish, and it has heavy cream in it, so that probably wouldn’t be kosher?

A lot of people tend to treat sardines and other small fish [like smelt, anchovies and the like] similarly - very simple. I have a friend who likes getting a tin of them, some good crusty sourdough bread, soft cheese, olives and some fresh fruit. Smear the cheese on the bread, lay some fishes on top and chow down, alternating with olives and fruit.

How about cooking up some general pasta - angel hair or spaghetti. In a saute pan saute up some smashed garlic, ground pepper, red pepper flakes and fennel seed for a minute or two, then add some chopped dead fishies, chopped fresh tomato, perhaps an onion chopped fairly finely. Saute until the veggies are done and the fish is falling apart, toss in some thyme, basil and maybe rosemary and saute for a minute or two longer and toss with the cooked pasta.

How about a nice lentil dish - where I would add bacon for flavor toss in the sardines? Or something like that, cooked broadbeans?

Wasn’t there a 2 fat ladies dish that was broadbeans and sardines?

Ha, Beanz Meanz Fritz. Just leave out the backn, it is a garnish anyways.

OOh, how about a Gigot of Monkfish, he may like fish with sardines added instead of anchovies.

Swiss Chard with Garlic and Anchovies

There’s a Mexican recipe in which you make avocado “salad”–oil, vinegar or lemon juice, scallions & other flavorings. Then serve it on top of a split, ripe avocado. Maybe a sprinkle of parmesan? Quite delicious.

Hey, look: Alton Brown’s Sardine Avocado Sandwich has similar ingredients.

Open can-dump sardines onto plate. Arrange sardines on plate -insert toothpicks into fishes.
Hows that for simple?

I didn’t even know there were any recipes for canned sardines!.. From what I gather, there’s a difference between the canned mush sardines and fresh (or salted) sardines used by European chefs. There are little fresh or frozen fish in American markets sometimes, like smelt, but that’s something else all together.

I’m sorry, IMO canned sardines just aren’t a good recipe ingredient. I like them, I eat them, but I can hardly look at them, they need to be hidden between two pieces of bread. The smell and texture, mixed with other ingredients??? Uh-uh.

Lately, instead of sardines, I have been picking up tins of Kippered Herring, which I find much more tasty because they are smoked and a bit salty.

Just looking around a bit, it seems that a traditional way of using kippers in English cooking is to make Kipper Cakes. It seems they are very simple lightly breaded and fried potato and fish cakes usually with some kind of herbacious green mixed in (the linked recipes use watercress and parsley, respectively.). Although the canned kippers are not exactly the same thing as traditional English Kippers I can see Mixing a couple of cans up with a few coarsely mashed potatoes, an egg, some dijon, and parsley and onion; and then coating in eggwash and breadcrumbs and frying till brown. Maybe serve with a nice green salad…

(Of course, I’m sure one could do the exact same recipe with sardines.)

No, heavy cream is kosher as long as one doesn’t plan on mixing it with meat/meat products, but as I’m doing this for health reasons, I don’t think that’s the direction I want to take this.

More like what I’m talking about, thanks!

salinqmind - if you like sardines, try the recipe I linked to in the OP - it was really great.
Bridget Burke - that avocado salad sounds great, thank you!

I would argue that in both of those recipes you can not use a tin of sardines interchangeably with salted and cured anchovies, it just will not have the flavors and quality that are intrinsic to both of those dishes.

I’ve done Bittman’s Pasta with Sardines, Bread Crumbs, and Capers before, and it’s good. Other than that, I’m mostly an “open the can and put 'em on crackers” kind of girl.

The thing is, there’s sardines and then there’s sardines.

The itty bitty ones, in two layers and packed in oil, are delightful eaten plain (a la ralph’s suggestion. I imagine they would be great in various recipes.

The big ones, where you get the midsections of 3 or 4 fish filling the can, never appealed to me. They’re just not the same.

Then there’s sardines packed in tomato sauce or mustard, which is a crime against nature and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. Now, I realize it can be a matter of personal taste, and YOU might like them – but you shouldn’t. :stuck_out_tongue:

I recently had an appetizer of grilled sardines (the real fish, not canned) and was impressed by the delicate flavor. A first for me, I never knew sardines were available, other than canned.

Man, they were good!!!

Fresh sardines are fabulous. In comparison, sardines in a can are an analog to cheese in a can. I thought canned sardines were really good when I was a kid, and still sample some now and then. Back then I used to make sardine sandwiches, just lay out the little fish between two slices of bread. There usually pretty salty and/or oily already, so I’m can’t think of anything offhand that would improve the flavor other than sandwich standards like lettuce, tomato, and onion. Oh, and bacon! Everything tastes better with bacon.

Some people eat the bones for added calcium, I’ve never liked the bones or the skin.

I’ve never thought of using sardines for anything but sandwiches or cracker toppers but I might try them in pasta or fish cakes now.

Last week I bought a couple of those Boboli pizza crusts, thin ones. On each one I layered shredded mozarella cheese, arugula, sliced plum tomato, and sliced avocado. Each was then topped with several canned sardines. I baked everything long enough to crisp the crust and melt the cheese. It was very tasty.

That sound’s like Jannson’s Temptation. Seems kosher to me.