November 28th is National Sardines Day.
Every year we make a different dish for our Feast Of The Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. They’re typically the easiest to make—which is good news, when you’re cooking seven fish dishes.
In the U.S., fresh-caught sardine season begins in July and lasts for a few weeks. They’re great grilled (photo #5), so mark your calendar.
Until then, look for flash-frozen sardines and then to canned.
The silvery fish are inexpensive, ready to eat, and loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other key nutrients*. They’re a superfood.
They’re also one of the most sustainable fish around: all-around, a fish to feel good about.
THE BEST CANNED SARDINES
Bad canned sardines are fishy, but good brands can grace any table. We like:
BELA Olhão, in plain EVOO or flavored with cayenne, piri-piri or lemon. (They’re also available in spring water, but what fun is that?) Here’s our review.
Matiz, available plain or flavored with lemon or piquillo chiles.
Vital Choice in plain EVOO, chile, tomato, organic, and spring water, and a 6-tin variety pack.
Group brunch idea: a canned sardines tasting, with regular and avocado toast, hard-boiled eggs and green salad.
EVERYDAY WAYS TO USE SARDINES
As a garnish, whole or chopped, pureed into a dip or sauce: Sardine lovers can have a buffet. They easily fit in at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Antipasto Plate (recipe)
Bread Salad/Panzanella (recipe)
Burgers (especially chicken/turkey or veggie burgers)
Bruschetta/Crostini (the difference)
Chirashi sushi (photo #4) or sardine/cucumber rolls (recipe)
Eggs (great as a garnish on any preparation, including deviled eggs)
Frutta Di Mare (assorted seafood plate, hot or cold)
Greek-Inspired Tuna Salad (recipe)
Green Salads (especially arugula, cress, kale, spinach—photo #2)
Hors d’Oeuvre (on flatbread or toast points, garnished with pickled red onions)
Pasta (photo #1)
Protein Snack/First Course (photo #3)
Salad (as a garnish, or puréed into vinaigrette)
Sandwiches (avocado toast, egg salad, grilled cheese, submarines, tuna)
Sardine Sandwich (country or crusty bread, buttered and layered with tomatoes and basil or arugula).
Savory Garnish For Wiener Schnitzel or Chicken Fried Steak (capers, sardines and sliced gherkins; think of it as “surf and turf”; schnitzel recipe)
Tapas (sardines with feta, olives, peperoncini—serve with beer, sherry, vermouth or wine)
Tartines (open face sandwiches, with sweet butter and cucumbers—more recipes)
Vegetables/Vegetable Pasta (add a squeeze of fresh lemon)
RECIPES WITH SARDINES
This is simply the small collection on TheNibble.com. There’s an ocean of recipes out there for you to explore.
A GIFT OF SARDINES
It’s holiday season: Why not? BELA Olhão even has a gift set.
BELA Olhão on Amazon
*Per three ounces of sardines: an ounce of protein, 2 grams of omega-3 essential fatty acids vitamin B-12, nearly 70% of vitamin D daily value, (75% of daily value of selenium, plus phosphorus, calcium and iron.
 Spaghetti with garlic and sardines packed in chile oil, topped with toasted breadcrumbs. Here’s the recipe from Taste | Australia.
 Sardines on a wilted greens salad: a first course or a luncheon salad with some cherry tomatoes (photo Emily Chang | The Nibble).
 A first course or snack: Sardines Venetian Style, with crostini and pickled vegetables (photo courtesy Trattoria Italienne | NYC).
 Chirashi sushi with a poached egg, using canned sardines in tomato sauce. Here’s the recipe from Kitchen Gidget. You can do the same with a grain bowl.
 Fresh sardines with and ramps (photo courtesy Abboccato Restaurant | NYC).