They tell us to eat more fish, smaller fish, and oily fish. I believe sardines fit the bill, but no one seems to rave about sardines the way they do about blueberries or kale.
Sardines have been on my to-do list, but they look a little scary. I've deep fried smelt before, but those are small enough that I didn't mind ingesting them whole. Unfortunately, sardines are too big for me to get excited about eating them whole, and too small to seem worth the effort. Ask people about sardines and you get the anchovy face, even though not too many people have tried them.
However I was looking for cheap seafood, and at $1.99 a pound, it doesn't get cheaper. When I asked for them, the guy behind the counter actually looked a little excited and said, "they're so GOOD for you!" I asked if they came cleaned already and he laughed at me.
I looked up recipes for sardines, and the few that called for fresh sardines said that cleaning them was a simple matter. De-scale, split open along the belly, rip the head off, and out come the guts and bones.
Thankfully, my sardines turned out to have already been scaled. The rest wasn't horrible work, but then I've helped butcher a few chickens in the last few months, and I'm getting a little less squeamish.
When buying fish, they always say to look for firm flesh and clear bright eyes. A closer look at my sardines revealed that they must have been doing some hard partying right before they died, because they looked less than fresh. Not a promising beginning.
Once I was done cleaning the fish, I salted them, dipped half of them in flour, and pan fried them in a little olive oil. No one else would try it, so it was a lonely meal.
Next time I will be sure to have a pot of steamed white rice ready and serve it with soy sauce and lemon since that is my favorite way to eat fish. I saved the leftovers with the soy sauce and lemon, and took it out for lunch. After reheating, it was even better than I remembered. I wrapped them up with spicy olives and arugula in a wheat thin since that was what I had on hand, and it was far better than the sum of its parts. Ridiculously good.
The verdict? Sweet, with all the health benefits of mackerel but none of the aftereffects and cheaper than flavorless farmed tilapia. Yes, I absolutely recommend sardines.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!