When I was a nipper growing up in the Garden of England – aka the county of Kent (although technically I was never a nipper since I am a girl) – I was regularly served up sardines on toast for supper, as I suspect a significant number of British kids were. I’m not sure it’s as popular nowadays, but back then – YUM. I loved when sardines on toast popped up on the menu. Oftentimes the sardines were in tomato sauce. I think I loved those times even more, which is a little odd because I am not really a tomato sauce kinda gal. Except ketchup on my eggs, but that’s another tale. But I think somewhere in the back of my mind a connection between sardines and tomatoes was made, because when I started to think about sardine recipes the first one I came up with was this Tomato Sardine Salad.
Of course, these days I don’t eat the toast, but I do down sardines like they’re going out of fashion. Except, in the US I don’t think sardines have ever been in fashion. Whenever I mention sardines, noses wrinkle and a chorus of “Ewwws!” can be heard. Sardines do not seem to have much of a following stateside.
It seemed perfectly natural to me that Mr. Bailor would at some point mention the outstanding virtues of a humble can of sardines on our podcast. After all – they are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Have you noticed how I always leave the geeky science stuff to Bailor? I chimed in with enthusiastic stories of how a tin of sardines is perfect road-trip fodder, and how you can keep a couple stashed in the glove box of your car in case of emergency. I joyfully explained how to fashion an eating implement out of the tin lid, if you were ever caught without a fork when you were about to down a tasty sardine snack.
I guess it was bound to happen once the sardine podcast aired that there’d be some sardine Q & A coming down the pike. So it was no surprise when the other week, Lorrie posted on the Life in the Sane Lane Facebook page asking for ways to eat sardines. Lorrie is a faithful reader who, with her friend Dawn, run a Downsizers Group over in Oberlin, Ohio. They meet every week to share health and fatloss success, tips, tricks, and recipes. They also have a lot of fun. I know this because they invited me to join them one evening and I Skyped into their get-together. SO. MUCH. FUN!
Turns out Lorrie was taking sardines along to the next Downsizers meeting, and never having eaten them before, needed some sardine assistance. Having been raised on the things it never occurred to me that Sardine Virgins may appreciate knowing what they might do with them, other than rip off the lid and eat them straight out of the tin. It’s like I never remember to explain to people how to open doors, because like sardine-eating, it’s just something I assume we all know how to do. You know what they say about assuming.
So I came up with an introduction to sardines via this lovely Tomato Sardine Salad.
When I am on road trips I eat sardines a lot. They are just so portable. In the evening when I get back from driving and shooting for 14 hours, I toss sardines, halved cherry tomatoes and quartered hard-boiled eggs on a plate, sprinkle with salt and call it dinner. When I am at home I make a rather prettier and greener version. This is another one of those very simple “what Carrie Brown really eats at home” dishes. It takes 5 minutes to throw together and makes you a perfectly balanced sane meal. When I get home too late and too tired for thought, this is one of my go-to’s.
If you’re new to sardines, try this Tomato Sardine Salad first. I really think you’ll like it. And Jonathan and I will be so very happy to get some more of you on the sardine trail with us.
- 2 small tins sardines
- 8 oz. / 225g cherry tomatoes
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh spinach
- 1/2 English cucumber
- Ground black pepper
- Drain the sardines, chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
- Cut the eggs into quarters lengthwise and then each quarter into 4 pieces.
- Add to the bowl with the tomatoes and sardines and mix gently.
- Salt to taste, mixing as little as possible to avoid the sardines and eggs becoming mushy.
- Spread fresh spinach on a serving platter on 2 plates.
- Slice the cucumber and then quarter each slice.
- Spread the cucumber pieces over the spinach.
- Spoon the sardine salad over the veggies.
- Grind black pepper over the top and serve.