When it comes to the warmer months, eating healthy typically tends to fall top of mind—and with the abundance of fresh produce available, it can be fairly easy to do so. But when we find ourselves in the dog days of summer and unappeased with the idea of spending hours perched in front of the stove, a lighter and less effort-inducing meal is one we can definitely get behind.
Enter sardines: An arguably elusive fare that is often (sadly) overlooked—their close, and inaccurate, association to anchovies may be one reason for this, the questionability of how to consume them, another. That is where we come in, with a handful of easy recipes and tips that will help elevate the canned staple.
Ahead, a guide to the ultimate, summer-friendly menu featuring sardines.
The health benefits of sardines are abundant—rich in nutrients and loaded with vitamins, the list is chockful of essentials such as Omega-3s, potassium, and more. Given the versatility of sardines—which, more often than not come packed in olive oil—you will find it easy to pair them with a diverse scope of dishes. Smoked sardines packed in a spicy chili sauce or with roasted tomatoes are ideal for those looking to embrace an additional range of flavors.
Tomatoes are a mainstay when it comes to said pairings—as the acidity of the fruit provides a refined complement to the delicate flavors of the fish—with butter standing in as another equally elemental component. Paired together, you'll find yourself left with a dynamic combo that is filling and light.
Oven-Roasted Garlic-Chili Tomatoes
These roasted chili-tomatoes will complement a wide scope of flavor profiles, doubling as the ideal side for the recipes ahead. Aside from sardines, they can be enjoyed on toast, scattered onto a cheeseboard, or atop your go-to pasta recipe. The possibilities are endless!
Once you have the chili butter, you can spread it on toast and layer the sardines on top. When it comes to the garnishes, lemon and parsley are an ideal starting point. Ahead of that, fresh veggies—think thinly sliced radishes and onions—will provide a fresh element with added crunch. Psst! Those roasted tomatoes can definitely work here too.
If we're being honest, sometimes the best way to enjoy sardines is straight from the tin with a slice of fresh bread. For those who aren't quite ready to make that leap yet, a serve-yourself situation is definitely the way to go.
Take a cue from the standard cheeseboard and assemble a similar situation with ingredients that complement the fish. Opt for a variety of crackers and sliced bread to set the foundation. Bring in an assortment of canned sardines for diverse notes (and because a little experimentation never hurt) and fill in the holes with crudites, roasted tomatoes, and seasoning.
Crispy Baked Potatoes
A starchy base is essential for sardines—perferably to soak up all that oily goodness. These crispy baked potatoes make for a mouthwatering vessel to load the fish up on.
What's your favorite way to eat sardines? Sound off in the comments below!