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Feb 15, 2010 12:19 AM

Society for the Appreciation of the Lowly Tinned Sardine

A few years ago I did a sardine taste-off

The Great Sardine Taste-off – the Spanish Saga (cans 40-49)

Recently I tried Aldo smoked sardines from of all places Latvia. They were really good. Usually they sell for about $2 a can, but a local discount store is selling them for 50 cents.

Posting on my home board about this deal I Googled to see if there was any info about them and came across a great sardine site. In addition to having tried more than 75 varieties, the blogger took pictures of them all rating them on a scale from 1 to 5 tins.

Here's the page for a few that got a lowly 1 can rating ... and you can see why.

On the other end of the spectrum the 5 tin honor list that includes 'Mahura Nichiro, brought back from Japan. Four nice smoked fish in a killer BBQ sauce. Reminds me of Unagi, firm, sweet"

There's a few recipes and also how each can was consumed ... with beer or cheese, etc. There's sardine sushi, sardine laksa, Filipino canned sardines for one, Sicilian-Style Sardine Pasta with Bread Crumbs, Pollastrini Canned Sardine Fritters,

There's even lovely chocolate sardines

He writes "In France, around Easter most of the bakeries and pastries and candy shops sell chocolate sardines of their own. You know sardines have always been associated in the catholic religion with the fast before Easter. Chocolate sardines are then a reward for your efforts in eating dried and salty sardines during 40 days !"

Also there are links to other great sardine sites such as a French Sardine Museum (its in French)

There was once a Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame

Very cool site in Portuguese with lots of great photos

And the site will get you to a book called "The Sardine Diet'

Should you wish to can your own sardines there's sardine scissors which cuts heads and eviscerate sardines in one single movement (pdf format)

Anyway, a truly top-notch, fun and informative site about sardines.

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  1. That's really good, makes me want to try some sardines :)
    I like the writing style too, it kind of reminds me of you.

    1. I love your sardine devotion!!! I eat them 3 times a week, rotating off with kippers...I have to ask...though about portions...lots of cans say that there are 2 servings in each can...even a can of say 3.25 or 3.5 do YOU handle this? I always just eat the entire can (drained of whatever liquid it's in)..but wonder why they commonly say there are 2 servings in such a small can?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Val

        A lot of canned food labels say there are 2 servings—tuna, soup, etc. I think it's just a ploy to make things look like they have fewer calories than they do. Same goes with indie bottles of juice etc.

        1. re: tatamagouche

          It's really a separate topic - in fact I think I'll start a thread on it - but that "serving size" BS really ticks me off. I recall looking at the nutrition label on a package of kielbasa the other day (silly me) and was startled to realize they define one serving as 2 oz! I guess that's the only way they could get the sodium and fat numbers to look reasonable.

        2. re: Val

          there was an article in the NYT this week (maybe the Wed. food section), about how there's currently discussion around changing serving sizes to more accurately reflect what people actually eat. Not an issue with sardines so much, but with chips (the example the gave), no one stops 10 or 20 chips - forget the amount they gave. So yes, as Tatamagouche says, it's just a ploy to keep us from confronting how caloric our nosh is.

          Great post by the way, rworange. I've been eating the sardines lately too.

        3. Great blog. Thanks for this.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. AMAZING THREAD!

              I just opened my first can of sardines a couple weeks ago and created this

              I challenged myself to start using sardines, and have quit eating almost all seafood, after reading bottom feeder and watching end of the line....

              but sardines are a wonderful and sustainable was to get my fish in!
              I am re inspired! THANKS

              1 Reply
              1. re: CookieGal

                I came across this really swell sardine site selling canned sardines I never imagine existed

                - Sardines marinated in Muscadet white wine
                - Sardines and Smoked Ham
                - Sardines Goat Cheese with Herbs de Provence
                - Sardine mousse with Armagnac

                They also have aged sardines with vintage years. I've had some French sardines aging since 2006. I'm thinking of trying them this week. Supposedly aging improves canned sardines.

                They are located in France, but when I have some time I plan to see if they ship to the US.

                They also carry other canned fish such as
                - canned tuna with pink peppercorns
                - ,makerel fillets in raspberry vinegar
                - monkfish liver

                For me, Google toolbar automatically pops up and translates the pages to English. They seem to do a good job of it ... though not perfect

                Sardines "The Future" 2009
                -- 4 to 6 fresh sardines Spring selected
                - Net weight: 115g
                - Ingredients: Virgin olive oil extra salt.
                -- Date and name of fishing boat mentioned on the box

                First sardine Spring Saint Gilles Croix de Vie She is caught in early season Between April and June The Sardine "Future", selected, is thin and tasty. It gives a foretaste of the divine qualities qu'auront sisters at the heart of the season, when they have reached full maturity.

                Hmmm .... divine qualities qu'auront sisters .... when they have reached full maturity ... sounds intriguing and racy.

                Then there is Sardines cooked (hot dish) Butter Baratte prepared the old and potatoes Noirmoutier ... By their firm flesh and melting, they will delight your palette

                Seriously ... Sex in the sardine can?

                Looking at the ingredient list it seems to be canned sardines with potatoes, butter and lemon juice. At the bottom of the page under "Little secret of Miss Pearl: they tell you to fry them and ...

                it comes with tasty small potatoes from Noirmoutier harvested at the same time as the sardine fishing.
                Butter Baratte :
                It means a butter with a truly superior, quietly obtained by real slow churning of cream and especially butter respected obtained after the maturation phase of the cream phase during which develops the flavors of butter and territorial local products

                I sort of get that. Special variety of potatoes and butter that picks up the flavors of what the local cows may be eating out in the fields.