Does the mention of sardine in a salad drive you away or make you crave a bite? Either way, I have you covered with this sardine salad - a mouthful of exploding flavours. Think of this as a close kin of the Niçoise salad minus the potatoes, olives replaced with jalapenos and tuna or anchovy replaced with sardines!
I know that sardines are not for everyone. Let me tell you that opting for boneless ones could change your perspective! (Although, I personally like the with-bone ones more. Once the side is eaten off, the mid skeleton bone comes right off. No hassle!) Powerhouses of a number of minerals including iron, potassium and magnesium, and sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and proteins, sardines are one of those understated members of the seafood family that can taste a wonder if you know how to team them up!
The history of canning sardines is not too old. It started around 1820 when Pierre-Joseph Colin first tinned them in his vegetable canning factory in Nantes, France. Sardines became popular in America only recently in the history, around 1950s.
The best way I like to have fresh sardines is to grill and let the skin char a bit, and sprinkle freshly ground pepper, salt and lemon on top. I find the fresh ones to be less fishy, though I cannot usually find fresh ones at the local store. Canned ones are fishy too, but the right marinade can do all the magic.
What can I do to tone down the fishiness of sardines?
If you wish to broil or grill, try a good marinade which has two or more of things like ginger, soy sauce, mustard, chili oil, shallots, garlic, peppers!
If you are having sardine in a salad, add vegetables that you enjoy. I pick and experiment and it turns out great with potatoes (sweet or regular), tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, asparagus, snow peas, or leafy ones like arugula, spinach, chard, kale or collard.
Adding onions and garlic helps to keep the fishiness away too.
You could also toss them into pasta, pile on rice, add them into a quiche or tacos!
The recipe of the sardine salad here is an extremely simple one, and perfect for a light to medium filling meal. You can easily double the ingredients to make a bigger portion. It can be a side salad to a larger meal or a smaller meal on its own.
The dressing is very simple: the mustard and grapeseed oil give a rounded flavour to the sardines helping to balance their strong flavour. The star of the salad (apart from the sardines of course) is jalapeno, which gives that rustic feel to the tanginess of lime.
1 can of sardines
1 large cucumber chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped
A big batch of arugula leaves
For the dressing: 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp grapseed oil, squeeze of a 1 big slice of lime, freshly ground pepper, rocksalt
Mix the dressing ingredients in a cup and keep aside.
Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl.
Drizzle the dressing on the salad and mix.
Smooth as a breeze, right! Enjoy as it is or toss into freshly boiled pasta!