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LUSCIOUS JOYS APRIL 2016

This will probably sound a little strange to you, but would you ever consider the idea that sardines could be Luscious? Sardines? What? Luscious? I contemplated that exact idea as I stood in front of my pantry yesterday deciding what to make for supper. My gaze came across those two cans of sardines gathering dust and I thought, now how could I eat these other than on toast or a cracker (they are rather healthy for you)? So off to my computer I went in search of a few luscious sardine recipes! Well, what I found was rather shocking; I found a plethora of recipes for sardines. I’m guessing I am not the only one who has a few cans of sardines lying around, so here you go -- a few Luscious recipes for you to try.

This sounds delicious!

Fisherman’s Eggs

Heat the oven to 500°F and preheat an ovenproof serving dish for five minutes. Place the contents of a can of sardines, a small sliced shallot, a few sprigs of chopped parsley, and two cloves of finely chopped garlic in the warm dish. Add some black pepper and put the dish back in the oven for six minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, break four eggs into a bowl, and pour them gently on top of the sardine mixture. Season with salt and pepper and put the dish back in the oven for seven minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but still jiggly. Remove the dish and let it sit for five minutes (the eggs keep on cooking even out of the oven). Set out with toast and hot sauce. Serves 4.

Smoked Sardine Pâté

In a food processor, combine two cans of smoked sardines, seven ounces of cottage cheese, seven ounces of Greek yogurt, and the juice of half a lemon. Blend until just smooth; serve on bread or crackers dusted with cayenne pepper. Serves 6.

Pantry Puttanesca with Sardines (and pasta, of course)

1 pound linguine

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1 (4.25 ounce) tin sardines packed in oil (we're using this oil as well)

1 medium tomato chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (OR a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes)

1 (6-ounce) can pitted black olives, olives halved crosswise (so as to keep the little ring look intact)

1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed, and finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine according to the manufacturer's directions until it is al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water for adding to the Pantry Puttanesca at the end of the cooking time. In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the shallot and cook until the shallot is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sardines and their oil, then the tomato, olives, and capers, and cook until the tomatoes are softened, and the sardines are breaking apart before your very eyes, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the linguine to the Pantry Puttanesca pan, then pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, stirring well, folding those olives, tomatoes, and sardines into the strands of pasta. You're looking for a moist sauce here, so if you need a bit more water in the pan, add the remaining pasta cooking water, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with pepper, perhaps top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Make sure you have some crusty bread to soak up the sauce that remains on your plate.

Some other quick and easy serving ideas

Sprinkle sardines with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Combine sardines with chopped onion, olives, or fennel.

Top sardines with chopped tomatoes and basil, oregano, or rosemary.

Balsamic vinegar gives sardines a nice zing.

Make a sauce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Serve over sardines.


Now, don’t eat your sardines just because they are Luscious – you knew this was coming - they are also extremely healthy and are an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium. They are a very good source of phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin D. Additionally, they are a good source of calcium, niacin, copper, vitamin B2, and choline. Sardines are rich in numerous nutrients that have been found to support cardiovascular health. They are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels; one serving (3.25 ounce can) of sardines actually contains over 50% of the daily value for these important nutrients. Sardines are rich in protein, which provides us with amino acids. Our bodies use amino acids to create new proteins, which serve as the basis for most of the body's cells and structures. Proteins form the basis of muscles and connective tissues, antibodies that keep our immune system strong, and transport proteins that deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies.


AND, JUST A LAST BIT OF TRIVIA:

Sardines are named after Sardinia, the Italian island where large schools of these fish were once found. While sardines are delightful enjoyed fresh, they are most commonly found canned, since they are so perishable. With growing concern over the health of the seas, people are turning to sardines since they are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, feeding solely on plankton, and therefore do not concentrate heavy metals, such as mercury, and contaminants as do some other fish.


So dig those cans of “Luscious Sardines” out of the back of your pantry and don’t just think of them as those tiny little oily fish anymore! (I personally like the ones in mustard or jalapeno sauce).


Submitted by: Kathryn Hartwell

References: whfoods.com, chowhound.com and tinyfarmhouse.com