cookie8February 9, 2012

I recently, well not really that recent (three months ago), bought a can of sardines. I am now afraid to eat them. Do any of you eat sardines? I am trying to eat for optimum health and they seem to pack a nutritional punch but.... Any suggestions how to prepare them so I can give them a try? thanks

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This is how my dad use to eat them. He would eat them as a snack while watching tv. Take the cracker of your choice, top that with a slice of pickled egg. Top the egg with the sardine and top that with hot mustard. Yeah, I know, gave me the willies just watching him eat it. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:09PM
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If they are the fishes in oil, I love them! Toast some bread, top with sardine and maybe some onion and enjoy. I learned to love them as a kid, from a neighbor who was from Norway. It was her treat for a lunch on our playday.

Now the fresh ones are great too. Pan saute or grill with some EVOO and garlic. They make a great appitizer.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:24PM
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I adore certain brands of sardines (Crown Prince & King Oscar). They have to be drained on paper towel, smashed on a good white bread, squeezed with fresh lemon juice, topped with another slice of bread. Heaven!

(I take their tails off - a texture thing)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:42PM
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OMG I love a sandwich with King Oscar sardines, some nice crisp lettuce and a bit of love love it.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:03AM
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I love sardines! I open the can, drain the oil, and put them on a plate. Then eat them with saltines. After reading the Alton Brown recipe below (which sounds good but is more fuss than I want to deal with), I now sprinkle them with a little sherry vinegar. It really does cut the fishiness!

To derive all of the benefits, do not remove the backbone. It is soft, edible, and a good source of calcium.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alton Brown sardine toast

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:29AM
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I love canned sardines too! We always get the kind in mustard sauce. I open the can and eat them with a fork and have some crackers to go with them!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:51AM
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In general, the smaller the sardine the more delicate the taste. So the two layer and cross pack ones are nice. My favorites are King Oscar and Crown Prince, especially the ones that are packed in olive oil. (I don't care for those packed in soybean oil or mustard or tomato sauce.) Costco has a four pack of King Oscars in olive oil at a good price if you want to stock up.

King Oscar has some packed in pesto, and they're scrumptious. Haven't seen them in a while, though.

Some of the bigger sardines are rather rank IMHO.

If you find them to be a little too strong tasting, here's a trick: drain the oil out of the can, put the sardines in a small bowl, pour in some vinegar and let sit for a minute. Pour off the vinegar and eat. Yum.

By the way, when I drain the oil I drain it into my dog's dish. She loves it. I assume it's good for her.

As far as how to serve them, I usually eat them right from the can, but a sandwich of sardines with some of the olive oil on them, on whole wheat bread, is pretty darn good. If you want a simple salad, just tear up some romaine lettuce and then break up the fishies on top of it, using some of the olive oil from the can to drizzle on the lettuce. Grind some fresh black pepper on them.

If you're on a low carb diet, they're a godsend. No carbs, great taste, satisfying, and full of omega 3 oils. I'll often eat a can or two for lunch.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Add me to the list of people who love sardines. I just made a pasta dish, Pasta Con Sarde, it was good but I think heating the sardines makes them a bit "fishier".

I like them best just smashed up on crackers, the girls and I always ate that for lunch when we went camping. I also like them broken up and mixed with mayo, like tuna, for sandwiches and Amanda used to hollow out a cucumber half, fill with mashed sardine and mayo and eat it that way.

I like the ones packed in mustard and the ones in oil, but not the ones in tomato so much. I don't have a favorite brand, they all seem to just taste like sardines to me.

Fresh they kind of remind me of smelt, something we eat here in Michigan with regularity, dipped in cocktail sauce like a cheap version of shrimp. Well, not in flavor, but in process.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:15AM
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This is perfect timing because I wanted to buy some but don't know anything about them. Are the heads still on them?--if so, do you just eat the whole thing?


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:23AM
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I also love sardines just as is....out of a can on a saltine.....and my preference is for the bigger fatter ones from Portugal or Spain.
When I was 11 or 12 I had a huge "thing" for them...I would eat a whole can as an after school snack with a glass of milk and some crackers. My mother bought those sardines b y the case!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Trudy, they're headless and gutted, but they still have little bitty soft bones which you won't notice when you eat (good source of calcium!), and they have the fins and tails. Very soft, but if you don't like the texture you can easily pull them off. You eat the whole thing.

If you want to try a very sanitized version of sardines, they do have some skinless/boneless sardines--sardine 'fillets', if you will.

As I understand it, there are more than one species of fish that are marketed as sardines. The best, IMHO, are brislings.

As long as we're on the subject of canned fish, just the other day I had a lunch of smoked herring, Trader Joe's brand. Delicious, a little dryer than sardines but still yummy. Canned sardines, tuna, herring--all are tasty convenience foods, good on a low carb diet.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 9:35AM
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And just in case anyone was wondering, in William Faulkner's last novel ('The Reivers') the plot revolves around a race horse. The stable groom discovers that the horse loves sardines, and is able to coax the horse to victory by waving a sardine at him from beyond the finish line.

I find that unlikely.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:19AM
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I put them in ice cream!
(Kidding :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:53AM
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I've linked to a video on how to make stuffed sardines. I first saw these on a PBS cooking show where chef Todd English visited various countries and sampled their best cuisines. He visited some little restaurant in Israel where the proprietor was famous for her stuffed sardines.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stuffed sardines video from Australiam foodie site

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Another sardine lover here.

But I don't think I have ever 'prepared' them,
In any way.

Just open the can, drain.
Put them on a plate (or not),
For some reason, they taste better
Straight out of the can, (to me, anyway)
And eat.
Either with a fork or on crackers.

A great snack or light lunch.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Dad liked the ones in mustard. As a kid, I'd often pack his lunch. He had them out of original can and in another container... guessing he didn't want to deal with potential key "malfuntion" at work?? I've always like mustard but NEVER liked the sardines back then.

Recently, MANY years later, bought some just to see if my "taste" had changed... still do NOT like them... WAY too fishy for me!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I love 'em too. All of them.
Oil, mustard, tomato. Plain, with crackers, sandwich.
I just wish they werent so fatty (calorie-wise).
I could eat them every day. Yum. I don't actually eat them very often, but always have a tin or two on hand.

DH and I will sometimes make a meal of sardines, cheese, crackers and fresh veggies from the garden in the summer. It's nice to not have to heat up the house to cook.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:05PM
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And.....they are low on the food chain...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:36PM
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I like to whizz up a tin with a tomato and spread the mix on baguette slices and bake in the oven 5 mins.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 2:53AM
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I count on them as one of the safe fish to eat to get Omega 3s. Low on the food chain so no build up of dioxins, mercury, etc.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:56AM
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I did it. I made a salad and sliced them up and topped with a walnut/lemon salad dressing. I like the taste better than canned salmon but I still felt a little gaggy when I ate it. I will eat them again I just have to get use to it because really, the taste wasn't bad at all.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:09PM
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My MIL who passed away at 91, always had them on her shopping list. As she was extremely healthy until her final months, I decided to give them a try. I didn't mind them, didn't love them either, but found that I didn't feel great later in the day after digesting them.
Perhaps I'll give one of these other ideas a try, obviously bread & crackers are out of the game for me.

BTW, Trader Joe's has smoked trout filets in a tin that I do find tasty. I keep those and TJ's wild salmon cans around for emergency rations. DH likes tinned oysters and tuna, so we always have earthquake food on hand!

Here is a link that might be useful: Smoked Trout

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:53PM
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I learned to eat them in mustard sauce when I was quite young - always on saltines. I like them now on Wasa crackers. I still buy the ones in mustard sauce and mash them a bit in the can.

I did eat fresh grilled sardines once at a restaurant in Portugal and tried them again in Italy. They were stronger in flavor, but quite delicious.

I like the canned ones best.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Well, after re-dedicating myself again to avoiding farmed salmon, and still looking for affordable fish to eat, I decided to get a tin of sardines. I have never eaten sardines believe it or not. Canned mackerel, oysters, clams, shrimp, tuna, salmon and anchovies, yes, but not sardines. I'm going to try some with pasta.

As a side note, while deciding which kind to buy, I noticed that most of them had "Product of Poland" on the tin. I did not realize Poland was a big fishing country! The other kind was from the Mediterannean, and then they had one tin of "sustainable" sardines from the Pacific coast of the US. That one was the middle of the road price, the Mediterannean ones being the most expensive. I got the one from the US. It pays to take good care of your oceans!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:18PM
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Like others here I like them smooshed on saltines...especially the mustard ones.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 2:17AM
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Today I had a new sardine experience. Because several people had mentioned how good Crown Prince brand sardines were, I bought a package. The ones I bought were in a pouch, like some tuna comes in. They were packed in spring water.

I have no idea what I expected, but I can tell you, it wasn't what I got. I opened the pouch expecting a bundle of whole sardines to slide out onto my plate. Instead, a mushed up wad of sardine-stuff fell out. It was about the most un-appetizing thing I've ever encountered. I was using them on a pizza, so I went ahead with the dish. After I pile all of the other stuff on the pizza you could not see them.

The taste was fine, but the eye-appeal was beyond awful.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:52PM
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bbstx, I'm glad you brought this back up because I'd missed Islay's method for using sardines and it sounds like something I'd like to try, especially in the summer when the tomatoes are fresh and good.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 5:39PM
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bbstx - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you think of what canned tuna looks like from a pouch or can, you got the same thing from the pouch of sardines. If you notice that most of the other postings say they mush up the "whole" sardines in the can before putting them on crackers. Yours from a pouch just had that work taken care of. LOL If you've ever had a hunk of grilled fresh tuna, it does not look like anything near what is in a can (nor does it taste anything near it).

Do try some that are not hidden on pizza. Hmmm, I like sardines but to my mind they do NOT belong there. I can't imagine what kind of aberrational pizza that would be.

Big saltine cracker spread with a tad of butter, a smidgen of onion, a drop of mustard, and a couple "from the can" sardines is a wonderful taste treat that has been repeated by me for more than 60 years for me. Do try again.

lpinkmountain - a great many sardines are processed in Poland but catches come from all over. Even the variety of fish called "sardines" include brisling, sprats, sardines, pilchards, and other less common varieties. And, that ubiquitous notation on foodstuffs -- "Distributed by" -- can mean that what is in the can or jar or pouch or box could come from anywhere at all. "Product of --" does not denote where it came from, just where it was processed for local sale or export. It does not say where it was fished from, or grown, or raised. It is a "product".


    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Sardines on saltines, period, end of story, is how I've eaten them all my life. But today I got adventurous. If anchovies, why not sardines, I said to myself. My pizza was delish.

Whole grain tortilla with just a light smear of marinara sauce, a sprinkling of mozzarella, tiny bits of red onion and green pepper, quartered kalamata olives, very small cubes of feta, another light sprinkling of mozzarella; and a dusting of oregano. Oh! and the sardines generously tossed about. It was heavenly!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:52PM
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bbstx, I agree, if anchovies,
Why not sardines?
I thought it sounded good!
But then, I do love anchovies on pizza.
Which seems to be something no one
In this neck of the woods,
Has ever heard of.

I have also been wondering why everyone
Seems to smoosh them up?
Now if you are mixing them with something,
It makes sense.
But to just put them on a cracker?
Why smoosh them?
I've always left them whole.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:45AM
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So, now I have to pick up a can of sardines.....same scenario as the smoked mussels a while back.

Arley, The Reivers is one of my all-time favorite movies. I really should read the book, huh?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:26AM
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It's the most accessible thing Faulkner wrote, which isn't saying much. I enjoyed it--some passages are brilliant--but it's more wry philosophizing than laugh out loud funny. I agree with you about the movie, though. Will Geer was fantastic as Grandfather.

The passage at the link is at the end of the story when the young boy is having to face the music for getting involved in all the misadventures, which included telling a whole bunch of lies. It's one of my favorite passages in all of Southern literature.

Here is a link that might be useful: falukner quote

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:44AM
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More literary sardines:

In Alexander McCall Smith's The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, Isabel is feeding 2 year old Charlie his favorite lunch, "He's discovered he likes mashed sardines, and he can't seem to get enough of them."

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:33AM
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My father's sardine sandwich is the only way I eat them. Sardines, buttered rye bread, and a thick slice of ripe summer tomato. Maybe a light touch of mustard. But there are no sardines that I can find that are anywhere near as good as the skinless and boneless big sardines I remember.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:46AM
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[Arley and Teresa - we once saw a staged play of the first chapter from 'The Sound and the Fury'. Wow. We prepared for it by reading it several times over, with analysis, hyper-texts putting the narrative in chronological order, etc., and then once we saw it with flesh and blood actors on stage the piece really came together. I agree, Faulkner isn't the most accessible!]

OT - I do love sardines - I can eat a whole can myself. Smashed or not! The sardines, not me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elevatory Repair Service

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Me too! Preferably in mustard, and eaten on saltines right from the can. Can hardly wait to try them with sherry vinegar! Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Thanks for this thread!!!

I used to eat sardines a lot as a kid and loved them but for some reason I hadn't eaten them in YEARS. Honestly, I don't remember eating them as an adult.

Well, I bought a can and tried the Alton Brown recipe. DELISH! I've added sardines to my list and will be buying more. Man, I've been missing out all these years!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Another thumbs down for pouched sardines. I usually buy pouched salmon when I can't get wild caught fresh and I prefer it to canned, so when I noticed Crown Prince lightly smoked sardines in a pouch I bought several pouches. As soon as I opened the first pouch, I noticed fish scales everywhere. Now I am all for extra calcium, but neither hub nor I want to eat fish scales. I did take a bite and the flavor was really good, but the scales were mixed in and the texture was too off-putting to eat the sardines.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 2:04PM
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