Monday, March 1, 2010

Sardines aren't gross. Well, sort of.

Alton Brown is my favorite. He's funny, interesting, and he knows a ridiculous amount about food. I hang on his every word.

A couple years ago he had a series called Feasting on Asphalt. I was really getting worried about him. He'd gained a lot of weight and wasn't looking so healthy. To top it all off, he was riding his motorcycle around the country and eating things like pastrami stuffed hot dogs. That might be an exaggeration, but it was something like that in every episode. I was horrifically worried that my favorite Food Network cook might not make it back to Georgia to tape Good Eats ever again.

I started relaxing some when he seemed to slimming down a bit on newer episodes of Iron Chef America... but, when The New Iron Chef premiered to choose the next Iron Chef (Go Garcias!!!), I was down right relieved. He looked amazing. Not only did it seem he'd lost all the weight he'd gained, but he looked better than I'd ever seen him! Glowing, healthy, trim!!! Yay, Alton!!!

When the latest season of Good Eats began, Alton did an episode entitled, "Live and Let Diet." He called himself out on his once unhealthy habits and discussed a little about his new lifestyle. Good fats, nuts, beans, legumes, fruits, veggies, animal proteins in moderation- right up my alley and I couldn't wait to see what he was going to make!

He made ginger flavored almonds, a smoothie to die for, and... Sardine toast.

He talked in detail (of course) about sardines- how amazing they are for you- Omega 3's galore, protein, tons of calcium... but, I was skeptical. They're sardines. Gross.

I'm open minded though and I love to try to new things and really... could they be that bad? I do, after all, love fish. They are just fish. And they are so super good for you. Maybe it was worth a try... so, onto the computer to print out the recipe and off to Whole Foods I went.

Apparently, saying sardines on the can can mean they could be one of like 5 different varieties of fish, so Alton says to buy the can that actually says, "Brisling Sardines." He says they taste the best. I believe him. You can also buy sardines with other flavorings, such as mustard, but I did what Alton said and bought Brisling Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I also got the few other ingredients I needed and figured that I had a Kashi frozen pizza at home if all else failed.

I will tell you this first. It rocks. It is amazing actually. Sardines ARE yummy and after making this a second time, I think I might actually try to expand my sardine repertoire in the very near future.

I pretty much followed the recipe, but my ratios and a couple other details are different...

Here's exactly what I did:

One can of sardines- ok- here's the gross part. They still look like little fish, so I run away like a little girl and make Scott mash them up until they look like tuna fish from the can. I know, silly right? But, they look absolutely disgusting and I don't want to see the truth. I can't handle it.

I put in a good glug of sherry vinegar- about twice what he calls for since I'm only using one can of sardines. I also zest a lemon and am generous with freshly ground black pepper. I also hit it with a pinch of salt and some crushed hot pepper flake. Then let it alone for 30 minutes or so.
The first time I made it, I used 4 slices of a whole wheat sour dough boule and it was absolutely perfect. Today, I had the rest of my St. Germine baguette in the freezer to use up, so I used that. I dug out the extra innards of the bread and brushed it with EVOO. Still worked great, but the sourdough was better. I put it under the broiler just for a few minutes, then distribute the sardine mixture evenly. Only thing left to do is cut open an avocado, mash it up in the skin and distribute it on top of the sardines. Alton talks about how avocado evens out the fishy taste. Their vast nutritional value is merely a bonus in this recipe. Lastly, a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice. Dinner is served.

Last time, we drank a nice smoky petite syrah along with our toast. It was heaven. Today, I had to go to work, so that would be another reason why they were probably better last time.

Although you may need assistance in getting the sardines open, into the bowl, and looking like tuna fish- they are, in fact, delicious. I worked all night after having this for dinner and didn't even think about being hungry. I felt nourished, energetic, and completely satisfied.

The next time you're grocery shopping, take a look at sardines. Yes, they are sort of gross. But, you'll get over most of it after you eat sardine toast, I promise!

Ooooo... It's 11:00 pm!! Good Eats is on!!!


  1. I think I'll give it a go...

  2. That looks good, Kimberly. I was imagining those flavors together, and it was pleasant. I have tried sardines before, but not really in earnest, and I think they were in mustard. I did not mind them at all, as I think I had a saltine with it.