There are foods that one either loves or hates, and I’m pretty sure that sardines fall into that category for many of us. I happen to love them – it must be my mediterranean upbringing – but I encourage everyone to give them a try as they are high in all the good stuff! This week, we’d like to entice you all to eat a few more sardines, probably one of the healthiest and most convenient foods on the planet! Come and cook with us!
Sardines are usually sold canned and are loaded with omega-3 fats, which protect the heart, combat arthritis and depression, fortify against cancer and even fight wrinkles. Yes to all of that! They also contain the highest amount of calcium of any fish with just two sardines providing as much calcium as a 1/3 of a cup of milk, as well as a full day’s supply of B12 along with iron, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. And because sardines are very low on the marine food chain, toxins like mercury don’t accumulate in them.
What’s there not to like? I guess for many the taste is just a little too strong. I have made a point of exposing my kids to sardines, anchovies and herring from an early age and, honestly, it wasn’t always at the top of their list. But this is definitely a food worth fighting for so that those taste buds catch on! Naturally, they will imitate your behavior, too, so if you turn up your nose at sardines, the kids will likely do the same.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends Pacific Sardines as the best choice, avoiding the ones from the Mediterranean Sea, which is over-fished and over-polluted. As a starter, skinless and boneless sardines in olive oil are the safest entry point into the world of sardines. Packed in tomato sauce and mustard sauce are good choices, too, but they are not my favorites. Also, stay clear of the ones packed in vegetable oil, as that loads them up with the inflammatory omega-6 fat that does little for you.
The best, and simplest way to eat sardines is just as they come out of the can and on a piece of garlic toast. It’s one of our favorite quick fixes. Just toast a slice of good country bread, sprinkle on some crushed garlic and top it off with a few sardine fillets. It tastes divine, honestly. My friend Arantza – an avid sardine consumer – also recommends this simple baked sardines recipe with white wine and bread crumbs.
So live a little more on the edge and let sardines into your kitchen! Your heart, body and brain will be thankful for your choice and we’ll applaud you for your courage. Come and cook with us!