Confession time: I hate bananas. Wait that’s not the right confession. Let’s try again, shall we? Confession: I love canned tinned fish. There I said it. And you know what? I’m not ashamed, even if Top Chef made me feel like I should be this season*. Tinned fish can be delicious. And so much more affordable than it’s fresh counterpart. Sure, some fish (salmon and tuna) are better after being mixed with mayo and some flavorful add-ins (this changed my life people. And I wish I were exaggerating.), but others are delightful without any help. Smoked trout or oysters? All I need is a fork.
Which brings us back to sardines. I love sardines. But not everyone does. Even people who have never eaten a sardine are quick to tell you how much they hate them. Ummm...why? They’re amazingly good for you. They're sustainable. And I'm not the only person that likes them.
I’ve been making this sardine toast for a couple years, and I am not alone. This is the perfect sardine introduction dish. The sherry vinegar cuts through the richness of the fish and the avocado, although lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work equally well. The herbs are easily changed too. Want to go South of the border? Swap parsley for cilantro and add some green onion (and Tapatio if you have it). Don’t have any fresh herbs? Dried dill works amazingly well. Make the recipe as written, but add a smear of Dijon mustard under the avocado, and suddenly you could be in France.
Ahhh, the powers of canned fish.
*One of the judges said in a tone of utmost disgust that he had never eaten canned smoked trout and he couldn’t believe a “cheftestant” would use it. Seriously? You’ve made them make you an amuse bouche from a vending machine.
Sherried Sardine Toast (printable)
Adapted from Alton Brown
Makes enough for one open faced sandwich with a little bit of sardine leftover. It keeps well and is good on crackers as a snack. I use Trader Joe’s smoked sardines in olive oil which has a gross weight of 4.25 ounces, but is 3 ounces drained. If you can find a small tin, chances are you won’t have any leftovers. I like my toasts with a good hit of hot sauce, but I like everything better with hot sauce.
1 tin smoked sardines in olive oil, drained
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 slice bread
1/2 ripe avocado
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mash together the sardines, parsley, vinegar, and lemon zest. If you’re a sardine newbie, let the fish mix hangout in your refrigerator for 45 minutes. If you like sardines, use right away or let sit. Toast your bread. Smash the avocado onto the bread. Season with salt. Seriously, don’t forget to salt the avocado. Top with sardine mixture. Add another small sprinkle of salt. Marvel at how good sardines can be.