Weeks ago, months really, I pledged to try sardines in an effort to eat lower on the food chain. I went out and bought a tin of skinless, boneless sardines. I asked for your serving suggestions. I browsed recipes. I learned that you can fry them (“the bones get crispy!” said food blogger friend Melissa, which gave me pause), or put them in a potato salad, or mix them into pasta. Or just eat them on a cracker.
I got inspired.
Then I put the tin in the pantry. And there it sat. And whenever I reached in for baking powder or pasta or whatnot, I would think, Oh yeah, sardines, I promised I would eat those. For the blog. And then I would close the door again posthaste.
I am proud to tell you that yesterday I actually pried that sucker open. And I didn’t stop there. I actually ate sardines.
I’m here to report that these little fishies, which feed the farm-raised fish so many of us prefer…really aren’t that bad! The smell is a bit oceanic, but taste is mainly salty, at least when mashed in small (microscopic) amounts on a lovely sesame rye cracker.
I was worried the mouthfeel would be slimy, because just look at the sheen on those puppies. But they were actually quite palatable.
I had lactofermented veggies on the side, figuring two strong flavors would cancel each other out. You can never have too many cultured veggies, and these collards and cabbages were homegrown and -cultured.
Unfortunately I had to move indoors to eat because my cat was so interested in the meal.
I told myself that if lunch turned out to be a train wreck, I’d put a good taste back in my mouth with dessert: zucchini cornbread baked in the solar cooker. Not just any cornbread but blue cornbread. Over homemade yogurt with organic Indiana blueberries.
Sorry I don’t have a photo for you. I was too excited about eating it to pause and snap.
Meanwhile the salad balanced the sardine experiment nicely. I’ve said it before: I know this isn’t a food blog, but still I must share the ingredients of this super-duper salad:
- Grated zucchini, because it’s summer and everything we eat must include zucchini from the garden in some form.
- Oxalis, purslane, sorrel leaves, chives, catnip, young dandelion leaves, and possibly other things I can’t remember, gathered from the yard (and the neighbor’s yard, but who’s looking?)
- Sungold cherry tomatoes, first of the season and sweet as can be. I’ve waited all year!
- Pumpkin seeds toasted in the solar cooker.
- Nettle seeds. Herbalist Greg Monzel says these are “one of the only herbs that can restore compromised kidney function,” not that I really need that. And they’re too small to give much more than the teeniest little crunch. But I like using every part of the nettle patch, so I can tell Judy, “I’m still harvesting from it!” when she threatens to whack it down.
What culinary adventures are you having this summer?
I don’t much like sardines, but reading this made me hungry enough to want to try them. Yum…?
Try them and tell me what you think! Actually Nate at the Co-op said anchovies were a better beginner-level forage fish. So I have a tin of that too. Next up…
If you want some really great sardines- try Matiz brand. They are incredible! I am a huge sardine fan- but there are definitely some bad ones out there….
Thanks for the tip – I will look for those!