If you told me at age ten that I would have a bad case of ‘sardine obsession’ in my twenties, I would have laughed in your face AND rolled my eyes. ‘Sardines are gross!’ I would have told you. But here I am, finding sneaky ways to bring sardines up in conversation, looking up sardine recipes at work and enjoying them for more lunches and dinners than I’d care to say. For anyone who aligns with my ten year old self, let me tell you, they really aren’t gross at all. In fact, they are quite delicious, versatile, healthy and cheap (and sustainable and low in mercury content)! Canned sardines are not overly salty or fishy, like anchovies, and actually taste more like a mild canned tuna. Grilled fresh sardines are also delicious but this post focuses on these, which I found in the grocery store:
I love smoked fish. When I was a kid, my Dad, on occasion, would bring home smoked tuna from the local seafood store. While I wouldn’t have touched sardines with ten foot pole at that time, I was totally into this smoked tuna. Now that I know I like sardines, I knew I would love these too.
I think my original obsession began with the No Reservations ‘Brittany’ episode where Tony eats sardines that are jarred standing up in oil. I never thought preserved fish could be gourmet or elegantly prepared or special in any way- until I watched this episode.
And here I am, obsessing about a can of fish. Anyway, I ate them on water crackers with fresh squeezed lemon, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of sriracha. It was great.
Tomorrow I will try them on a toasted bagel with olive oil and capers. Yum.
My first farm share delivery two years ago put me in a mild state of shock. What on earth was I going to do with all of those vegetables? I scoured the internet for veggie-heavy recipes and came across what has since become one of my favorite food blogs, Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. She lives and blogs in San Francisco and is known for cooking with local, fresh ingredients. Her recipes are simple and she uses flavor combinations that I would never think of, plus you can search her blog for recipes based on ingredients which I think is incredible convenient. When I found myself with an overabundance of kale, she was there for me. When I was sick of guacamole she helped me out with a few excellent alternative uses for avocados. And when I had more tomatoes than I could ever know what to do with at the end of the summer, I turned to her blog to find ways that I had never seen tomatoes used before. Her baked good recipes aren’t too shabby either. Flourless cookies, brownies made with black beans, vegan chocolate mousse… Plus her photography is absolutely beautiful. Oh, to be a guest in her kitchen! When I recently had a refrigerator full of fresh asparagus spears I turned to her blog yet again. Her Orzo Super Salad recipe served as my inspiration for this dish. It was one of those week nights where I wanted to chill in my backyard and enjoy one of the first warm days of the year, rather than brave the masses at the grocery store. I used what I had in the kitchen and the results were a very happy surprise.
1 box Penne Pasta
1 lb fresh Asparagus Spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4c Toasted Almond slices
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4c chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2c Feta Cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and Pepper
Enough Olive Oil to lightly coat the pasta
To make this pasta salad, simply toss the chopped asparagus spears in with the boiling pasta during the last two minutes of cooking. Then toss the seasonings with the freshly cooked pasta and asparagus and enjoy! I served this with a slice of toasted multi-grain baguette.