January 26, 2017

Sardine Sandwich, or In Praise of Tinned Fish

This is hardly a recipe, but I do love a good sardine sandwich. Sardines?!, you say, barely able to disguise the look of utter revulsion on your face. The oily fish that comes in a tin, complete with spines???

Yes, sardines! I respond. And don’t you dare say a single thing against tinned fish, you mook! Then we breakdance battle, and after I completely wreck you with my triple-headspin-windmill combo and you weep a little, I’ll invite you over for a sardine sandwich so that you will truly understand just how wrong you were to ever doubt the majesty of the humble tinned fish.

The best tins of sardines have big meaty pieces of fish packed in a nice neutral olive oil (or tomato sauce!) so that the fish will slip out all greased up and ready for action. What part of that doesn’t sound delightful?

I buy supermarket tins and slightly fancier ones from specialty food markets, though from my sardine shopping I have also learned that there are tins costing up to $16 out there. $16! For one tin of sardines! I won’t lie that I am incredibly curious about the taste, though. I mean, who says a girl can’t treat herself with a new handbag and pricey canned fish? Someday.

There are many things you can do with a tin of sardines, but my favorite is to make a sardine sandwich. The rich, ocean-y, savory flavor of the fish with warm toasted white bread — along with the tang from a whisper of mayonnaise and the bite of raw, thinly sliced green onion. It is the stuff sandwich dreams are made of. I also like to finish mine off with a splash of Maggi seasoning and salt and pepper, but that’s optional. The Maggi, I mean. Definitely don’t skip the salt and pepper because food should always be salted and peppered.

And for you sardine newbies: yes, eat the entire fish, bones and all. After being preserved in olive oil or sauce, the bones are soft and will melt in with everything else as you eat it. No “crunchable” bones here — we’re not Gollum, after all. If your sardine has tough bones, consider never buying that brand again because that is a travesty. I’d also send the company a sternly worded letter. I mean, I know that tins of boneless sardines are a thing, but you shouldn’t have to get those.

Sardine Sandwich

Yield: 1 sandwich

  • 2 slices of white bread, toasted
  • 1 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tin of sardines packed in olive oil
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin, light green and green parts only
  • Salt and pepper
  • Maggi seasoning (optional)



Smear the mayonnaise onto one slice of the bread. Top with the filets of sardines. Smash them down so that the meat covers the bread slice. Top with green onion and season with Maggi (if using) and salt and pepper.

Top with other bread slice, cut into fancy triangles, and enjoy.

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