by Emily Thorson
I’ve long been a halfhearted consumer of tinned sardines, although largely in times of poverty (just after college) or desperation (stuck at work at 11:30pm). Despite my relative unenthusiasm for the little fishes, I completely believe all the hype about them: they are ridiculously good for you (omega-threes!), cheap, and sustainable. Plus, they’re probably the only fish that will be left to eat in twenty years, so we may as well get used to them now.
And thus, I am resolved: eat more sardines. The problem is that I eat lunch and dinner in the office, and I’d rather not be the jerk who opens up a can of sardines and then dumps the spines into the garbage can (you can eat the spines–in fact, they’re a great source of calcium–but I prefer not to). So this leaves sardines for breakfast.
Searching for sardine breakfast recipes didn’t get me very far. Some people suggested putting an egg on them, but eggs AND sardines sounded too heavy. Straight from the can? Maybe if I was buying higher-quality sardines. On toast? Eh, I prefer not eating processed carbs first thing in the morning. Obviously, the internet could not help. I would have to figure this out on my own.
Whatever I did had to be fairly fast, so I decided on the following preparation:
The night before, I cooked up a big batch of quinoa (plus some bulghar I needed to use up). At breakfast, I opened up a can of diced tomatoes with chiles and threw that into a pan. I added the can of sardines (bones removed). While those heated up, I microwaved a half cup of quinoa. Took out the quinoa, added the tomato-sardine mixture, and topped with a whole lot of hot sauce.
- Half cup quinoa, cooked the night before
- Half cup diced tomatoes & chiles (from a can)
- Can of sardines
- Hot sauce
Verdict? I wouldn’t say it was *spectacular,* but I would certainly eat it again. I also might try to buy some better sardines–these were just the crappy Brunswick variety. Check out this sardine ranking on Chowhound!
Any other sardine-for-breakfast ideas? I have an avocado ripening on my table as we speak in preparation for making Alton Brown’s sardine-avocado sandwiches. But what else? Sardines and yogurt? Sardines and polenta? SARDINE SMOOTHIES???