Sardine Salad (Be Not Afraid!)

June 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Lunch

There’s been a lot of talk about juicing around here lately.  I think it’s time we veer wildly off the juice beaten path to talk about sardines.  Sardines!  Aren’t you excited?  Well get excited!  Sardines make a fanastic salad!  So fantastic that I’m going to keep increasing the amount of exclamation marks I use when I talk about them throughout this entire post!!  See!!!  Isn’t this getting exciting?!!!!

Sardine Salad with Olive Oil and Lime

No?  I suppose that was getting a little out of hand.  But I am still excited about the sardine salad I made for lunch yesterday, it was surprisingly good!

“Surprisingly” because Sweet Mother of All that Swims Upstream or Downstream – sardines scare me a little.  I don’t know why, they’re just… SARDINES.  People are supposed to respond “BLECH!” when you say “do you want some sardines?”  Much the same way I felt about spinach as a kid whenever I watched Popeye open a can of the stuff and shoot it into his mouth.  I didn’t care that it made him big and strong – spinach is gross!  Look at that blob of green stuff from a can!  And he puts straight into his mouth?!  You have got to be kidding me IamNEVEReverEVEReatingspinach!  Please pass the Fruity Pebbles.

Yeah.  So maybe I was wrong about that spinach thing.  Turns out I was wrong about sardines too.  (And I was definitely, definitely wrong about the Fruity Pebbles)

I’ve eaten sardines one other time before and I did remember that they weren’t so bad – they didn’t seem that much different than tuna.  I also remember having to get past the part about them looking like FISH when I pulled the top off the can.  Don’t be alarmed when you open them up and discover that they look like they came straight from the ocean, someone only taking the time to chop off their heads and tails before throwing them into a tin and then slapping them onto the grocery store shelf.

I know what you’re thinking: stop being such a girl and get over it.  If you want to eat them then you gotta look those fish in the face.  Except not the face because their heads are cut off.  But yes, sardines do make you think a bit more about where your food comes.  At least they made me think about it.  (Sardines comes from the ocean.  I know that because I looked it up.  The Internet would never lie to me.)

But I’m here to tell the truth and nothing but the truth: these headless fish freaked me out a little.  There.  I said it.

And so I closed my eyes, dug them out and started chopping them up to make my salad.  (OK, so maybe I did open my eyes a little while I was wielding a knife around my fishy friends.)

Wild Planet Sardines

For dressing, I used the olive oil they came in (plus a little more from my own bottle because I had a big pile of greens) and the juice from one lime.

Lime Action Lime Shot

Action shot!  I added some salt and pepper too.

All on a bed of mixed greens including arugula and spinach, Popeye.

And I have to tell you (thus me writing a blog post about it) – this salad was pretty stinking good.

Sardine Salad

I kept expecting it to be overpoweringly fishy in taste, but it wasn’t.  It was just delightfully fishy.

Now on to the “why” part of this post, since we’ve already talked about the “how”.  (On salad with olive oil, lime and salt and pepper, are you paying attention?  Come on people!)

Because why on earth would you subject yourself to eating sardines without a dang good reason?  I mean, they taste good, that’s one reason – but you don’t know they taste good until you eat them.  And if like me you just said “BLECH!” anytime someone ever offered them to you, you have no idea that they taste good, so there’s no chance in H E double fish sticks you’ll be buying them without another reason.

During Sardine Salad Chow Time I dug out my trusty 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth to see if sardines made the list, and sure enough – there they are!

Read About Sardines

Everywhere I looked for sardine nutrition facts, I found the same general information: sardines are a rockin’ good source of Omega 3′s, B12, Selenium and calcium – they are high in protein and low in mercury too.  Omega3′s are good for cardio-vascular health and can even add years to your life.  Selenium can protect you from cancer, heart disease, and does all sorts of groovy stuff for your immune system and thyroid too.  (You can also scarf some Brazil nuts for selenium, FYI and FYImmuneSystem.)  B12 does super mega important things for our bodies and calcium, yeah – we all know that calcium does good stuff for our bones too.  (How’s that for scientific and informative?  You’re welcome.)

In short, sardines do a body good.  When I was eating this salad I kept saying “NOM NOM Omega 3′s.  Mmmmmm, Selenium.  B12! You are SO GOOD B12! NOM NOM NOM”.  You’ll be saying the same things too.  Just you wait.

Be sure to buy sardines packed in their own oil or olive oil – NOT vegetable oil.  Don’t be alarmed that they are a little boney (no big deal, just chomp right through them!) and as I already mentioned – try not to scream when you open the can and see a pile of little fish.  Do NOT expect to see a hunk of meat like you do when you open a can of tuna.

So what do you think?  Are you a sardine lover or do you say “BLECH”?  Do you have a favorite way to eat them?  Please tell us!  Or tell me, anyway.  I want to make these guys a more regular part of my diet and wide open to new tried-and-true ideas for sardine cuisine.


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