Canned sardines are something I have a love-hate relationship with. I remember my mother mixing and mashing up the sardines (bones and all) with mustard and ketchup and making delicious sandwiches with them or using this concoction as a tasty spread for crackers. I also remember that they were not very pretty to look at and were well… a little bit smelly.
Last week, my mother gave me two cans of sardines, one with skin-on and bones, and another skinless and boneless.
They sat in the cupboard for a couple of days before I was brave enough to open them. Then I had a food emergency; I was too lazy to cook but was in urgent need of protein. I opened the boneless version and was pleasantly surprised – firm, tasty fillets of sardines reminiscent of salmon or tuna. I thought to myself that these morsels from the ocean would be great in so many dishes.
Then I had the tackle the other variety, the bone-in-skin-on sardines. I carefully opened the tin with much trepidation. Before me were some deeply colored creatures that reminded me of my least favorite insect.
I said to myself “Be brave Masala, you used to eat this as a child”, so I gently plunged into the tin and removed one of the sardines. I placed it on a tiny plate and opened it; the bones were still intact. I did not love the look of it but there was an intrinsic obligation to at least take a bite.
It was like an upheaval on my tongue: how my heart plunged when the bones, although soft, mildly crunched in between my teeth, the skin imparting a particularly unwholesome aroma that filled my nostrils immediately.
The next important matter was what to do with the rest of the sardines left in the can. I gave it to my dog and he loved it. One of the worst things to do in this world is to waste food and these sardines made my little doggie happy.
Taste buds change with time and I was surprised at my own reaction. Shame on me, is all I can say.
Back to the boneless version. I tried this pasta recipe that I found on YouTube and served it to the chickens. I did not tell them it was made with sardines and it was an absolute hit. It is called Pasta Con Le Sarde.
Video Recipe by Food Wishes. Check this amazing blog.