Extreme Cuisine – Anchovies/Sardines
Here are two different types of fish that usually elicit the same wrinkled-nose reaction. But, if you can get past the strong aroma, you’ll find a wonderfully full flavoured treat for your taste buds. Anchovies and sardines are available in many different formats from fresh to paste depending on your needs.
There are a lot of good reasons to eat anchovies and sardines every once in a while. Both are high in heart friendly polyunsaturated fatty acids, so they can help lower cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. You may have heard that eating fish is not as healthy as we all thought it was because of the potentially high levels of toxins stored in the flesh. But thanks to their small size, anchovies and sardines tend to harbour less amounts of mercury, lead and other environmental toxins usually found floating in bodies of water.
Anchovies and sardines that have been stored in oil or salt can be rinsed in cold water. Gently separate the fillet from the backbone. Anchovies are small enough that they quickly melt when added to a hot pan. You’ll notice the piquant flavour without seeing its source. Anchovy paste can be used instead, but be aware that a little goes a long way.
Fresh sardines are available throughout the spring and summer months. If the idea of gutting them makes you somewhat queasy, you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you. Sardines are so flavourful on their own that they really don’t need much in the way of embellishment. Brush them with olive oil, and sprinkle on fresh thyme. Thread them onto long skewers and grill for a few minutes each side. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice overtop and enjoy.