I sometimes struggle with getting fish into my diet. I like the health benefits, but I dislike how difficult it is to get decent, fresh fish around here. Heavens forbid you want anything environmentally friendly, as well, because that’s just asking too much. So, I have been playing around with a lot of Pacific sardines lately. Generally, I am doing the packed-in-water ones, but sometimes I’ll get the hot sauce or mustard packed for variety. They’re incredibly good for you, pretty easy to get, and have the decided advantage of being fairly frugal. And, just to top off their list of great qualities, they’re far more environmentally friendly than most canned tuna.
I’m not going to lie, they’re not appealing to look at in many cases. But, at least for me, they’re not only healthy, but bring back a lot of memories. When I was little, Gramps would pull out a can of sardines (he liked his in mustard) and saltines, and we’d have a snack together. I liked it even more because the rest of my family thought it was “gross,” so I got time with Gramps all to myself. That said, they can be a bit…fishy. So, while I’ll still do the mustard ones on crackers sometimes, I’ve begun experimenting with other options:
Olives, avacado, fresh tomatoes, and smoked sardines are combined with fresh basil, lemon, and a hint of olive oil in this salad. It works well on crackers or bread, but would work really well on a bed of fresh lettuce (we were out). I sided it with some pre-chopped veggies I’d prepped earlier in the week, and some hummus I did at the same time.
Hummus making tip: cook your chickpeas a long time, and add your tahini (it’s essentially sesame butter) and garlic while they’re still very hot. The rest of the ingredients can be added as you mix and it cools, but adding the tahini and garlic while the beans are hot makes a huge textural difference.