Thursday, April 25, 2013

I can get you to like sardines

Special Sardine Salad, see below

Three whopping years ago, I attempted to like sardines. I psyched myself up and tried them and even concluded, “I would give sardines a second date.” I must apologize to sardines because I didn’t revisit them. I felt I had faced a food fear and frankly fear and eating aren’t two things I enjoy at the same time. I have total respect for sardines, their impressive omega 3 content, low mercury and B vitamin offerings. Maybe the initial timing wasn't right. More recently, I got together with some friends to cook and one of the recipes was a sardine salad. It wasn’t just a run of the mill green salad with sardines but baby arugula with orange and fennel, other delicious additions and sardines. We were in good hands with chef and author Myra Kornfield who I have known and worshipped for years.

We all loved the special sardine salad but joked that we didn’t whip out the mandolin for our weekday lunches. Was there a way to enjoy sardines simply? Myra digested the challenge and then scurried around the kitchen. “Have you tried sardines mashed with avocado?” My fear was instantly extinguished, replaced with curiosity. “You can also do this with mackerel.” My food phobias were getting crossed off the list at rapid speed. Myra combined the sardines with avocado, juice from ½ lemon and some good quality salt. It wasn’t just fine; it was delicious.

Sardine Mash
1 tin of Vital Choice Sardines, no need to use oil that remains in can
½ ripe avocado, cubed
juice from ½ lemon
few pinches Himalayan or Celtic salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mash with a fork. Eat as is or over greens.

I ordered both sardines and mackerel from Vital Choice. Full disclosure, when I made my own “mash” I wimped out and used only ½ tin with ½ avocado. Once I ate them in my own home, without sardine support and still liked them, ding dong sardine-o-phobia is gone. 
Have you tried sardines or mackerel? How do you prepare them? Any foods you want to like because of nutritional value but don't? 


  1. Never tried them, and never had the urge to. However...maybe I will? This sounds simple enough, and I know how good they are for you!! Anything with avocado, lemon and just a dash of some of the best salt EVER has to be tasty!

  2. They are worth trying, for fish variety and nutrition. I see it like a green juice. Not everyone likes them the first time but worth repeat tries to have something super-healthy in your diet. And yes, with the right "accessories" most things taste/look good.

  3. I read somewhere that the best way to do it is to close your eyes or look away while you're mashing them with the avocado or whatever....then look back and its just like tuna!

  4. I need help Julie. Are we to close our eyes as sardines look revolting or is sign and smell somehow connected? I think I could mash blind just want the backstory. Thanks for the tip.

  5. you can do sardines but not shrimp? that's like the butterfly stroke vrs breast stroke. I say if avocado doesn't make everything better (and it might) cheese certainly does. What goat cheese do you like EA?

  6. Smashed with avocado and lemon is my favorite way to enjoy sardines, but I'm with you—1/2 tin is about as much as I can take. I've also done sardines on toast with tahini and roasted yellow peppers.

  7. I should add that I'm a major wuss and by the boneless skinless ones, though. I know there's a lot of nutrition in the skin and stuff, but I just...can't.

  8. Been eating this on Mary's Gone. GREAT suggestion!