I have been on the hunt for the best tasting sardine. I'll admit that sardines can seem a little off-putting because of their smell or their crunchy little insides, but I've learned to love them. They are so versatile and inexpensive. Until recently, I'd usually just pick up whatever tin of sardines was on sale- in olive oil, water, mustard, with bones, skinless and boneless. After a few disappointing tins, I have made it my personal mission to find one that I can always rely on for good quality.
So for starters, I picked up a tin of Crown Prince sardines packed in olive oil, since I'd read only good things about them. I opened it up to find tiny little sardines, which I wasn't expecting. Most tins I purchase come with 3 or 4 chunky sardines, but this tin had about 16 wimpy little fish. I tasted a little piece and was even more disappointed! I am not a huge fan of smokey flavors in canned fish items like oysters or sardines and that is all I tasted! It suddenly took me back to my childhood and made me realize that it was this taste that made me not like sardines when I was younger. I read the box and saw that the "smokey flavor" was right on the box! I really need to take more time to fully read labels. I didn't want to throw them out, so I drained the olive oil and rinsed them off. The smokey flavor wasn't as intense, but I could still taste it. Either way, I proceeded to prepare them with my usual sardine prep and left them to marinate a little longer than usual. The end product was milder than I expected, but next time I will be sure to not get "smokey" sardines. My favorite part of this meal was taking a chunk of warm bread and soaking it in all the left over sauce. So even if my sardines aren't reliable, I know my sauce will never disappoint!
- 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of whole grain mustard
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp of finely chopped white onion
- 1/2 of a clove of garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup of quartered or halved grape tomatoes
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, mustard, and lemon juice whisk together with a fork. Add in onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper; then stir again. Taste to see if you need more salt or pepper, don't be afraid to leave it a little under salted because the sardines are naturally salty. Toss in the tomatoes and gently coat them with the mixture. This makes enough to use with up to 2 sardine tins.
Drain your preferred sardines and then toss them with the marinade. Let them sit at room temperature, uncovered for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour before serving. You can enjoy these with saltine crackers or some fresh crusty bread.