Saturday, December 27, 2008
Pasta di Sardini, or The Sardine Caper
Canned sardines are a very healthy food. They're loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, B3 and D, selenium, phosphorus, and calcium. If they're not in your stored food items, they probably should be. They are canned in water, olive or soybean oil, tomato sauce, chili sauce or mustard sauce. You can get fancy canned sardines (aged, boneless, skinless) or you can get them cheap at the dollar store. We buy the cheap kind and store lots of them. But the only way I knew of eating them was plain with crackers. Or maybe in some kind of dip.
I wanted to make them into a full dinner, though. While there are probably lots of recipes available on the web, I had been thinking of a sardine noodle dish, ever since RiverWalker posted a blog about sardines. Here's the recipe I concocted:
Pasta di Sardini
1 lb fettucini noodles, cooked
2 7.5 oz tins sardines (in oil)
frozen spinach (use whatever greens you have on hand: lambquarters, canned turnip greens)
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp capers (rinsed) (optional)
1 tbsp pine nuts (optional)
herbs: parsley, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes
Cook the noodles according to directions. Saute the onion and garlic in butter til they're translucent. Add the thawed spinach, capers, pine nuts, herbs and sardines. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the sardines as you cook. After 6-8 minutes or so, add the noodles. Turn down the heat and cover, letting the noodles soak up the flavors. Serve as you would spaghetti with parmesean cheese on top. YUM.
This is an easy, tasty dish. Both Fred and Michael liked it--and Michael didn't think he would. I loved it, and I especially loved having a good recipe for using these delicious little fish.
There's lots of ways to vary this recipe: used sardines canned in tomato or chili sauce, and add tomatoes rather than the greens. Other vegetables could be used as well. Make it hot and spicy or mellow and creamy. The capers and pine nuts are optional--I had capers on hand but not pine nuts. The capers added a certain briny depth to the dish, and the pine nuts would add a bit of crunch, I think. Enjoy!