I cannot think of a canned product that has more of a cult following than sardines. Arguments rage about how long sardines should be aged in the can (yes, there are vintage sardines) and whether they should be Portuguese, French, Spanish, Chinese, or Southeast Asian. In the Philippines, I had the famous delicacy of freshwater sardines from Lake Bombon, but after I saw the polluted lake I was unfairly prejudiced against the fish.
Let’s not get into the whole debate about brislings versus sardines, but do read “Oules of Sardines,” an article that Elizabeth David wrote for The Spectator in 1962. You can find it in her superb An Omelette and a Glass of Wine (1984). Or read Alan Davidson’s essay “What Is a Sardine?” published in the
A plate of good quality, canned sardines is a fully satisfying dish that takes only 10 minutes to prepare. Eat them with horseradish, hot sauce, Meyer or salt-preserved lemons, or mayonnaise, but always with freshly grated onion.
Finely grate the onion and chop the mint, and mix in a bowl with
A bit over the top but amazing is toasted brioche slathered with ham mousse and then topped with the sardines prepared as above.
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