Forgoing canned fish for fresh? Not so fast! Packed with omega-3s and plenty of protein, canned sardines are where its at. Here, my picks for the meatiest of the bunch, and a foolproof recipe that just might be the impetus for an engagement: Sardine Capellini.
I know, I know: my single readers are likely VERY focused on the second part of that last sentence. But first, let's talk turkey...I mean, sardines. Here's what you'll love about them:
-Omega-3 fatty acid content - up to 1000mg per can (the same as a 3 oz. portion of wild salmon) source: seafoodhealthfacts.org;
-Price! As cheap as $2.28 per can;
-Ease of preparation. Data shows that Americans aren't eating enough fish! Canned varieties are a no-hassle way to augment your weekly intake.
Here are my top picks:
Notice a common theme? While the bones of small fish like sardines do contribute some calcium, the boneless and skinless varieties have a milder flavor, firmer texture, and quite frankly, are more visually appealing. As for the olive oil, well, given the other choices, it's the most flavorful - and dare I say most healthful - option. Plus, it won't go to waste in recipes like this Sardine Capellini.
So without further adieu, let's get back to that recipe and the ring...
This easy Sardine Capellini is inspired by the nuptials of my dear friend Lily. It was a beautiful summer wedding, set in picturesque Newport, Rhode Island. In the midst of Del's Lemonade, shimmering views of the sound, and a bustling open bar, the groom made a speech in which he waxed poetic about the bride's culinary prowess. Somewhere along the line of their courtship, Lily had transformed sardines and pasta into what was obviously quite the memorable meal. This woman isn't what you'd call a novice in the kitchen: suffice it to say this must have been SOME PASTA. Admittedly I tuned out the rest of the speech and began daydreaming about the other accompaniments I'd add to this intriguing dish.
Canellini beans add some heft (and fiber), sundried tomatoes offer a bit of texture, and capers provide a brininess - perfect with little fish. Notice there's no added salt in this dish: prepare it to the letter, and don't skip ANY of the listed ingredients. This is legit one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes. Ever. Prepared by anyone.
Truthfully, I was engaged within four months of creating this nuptial-inspired Sardine Capellini, but my only guarantee is that this is a super-easy weeknight meal. But hey, you never know ;)
Enjoy your food! Enjoy your life!
AUTHOR: NICOLE RODRIGUEZ, RDN, NASM-CPT
Half box capellini (or angel hair or thin spaghetti)
2 cans skinless, boneless sardines packed in olive oil (see above)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, passed through Microplane
A dozen sundried tomato halves, NOT packed in oil, sliced thin (I use scissors)
1 T. + 1 tsp. capers, roughly chopped
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Juice of one lemon
Fistful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (Use scissors for this, too)
Parmiggiano-Regiano or Parmesan, for grating
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions to achieve al dente texture. You can proceed with the following steps while the water is boiling. Have a glass of wine.
2. Open your sardines. Drain oil off of one can and into a hot frying pan. When oil is hot, add garlic and cook just long enough to become fragrant, taking care that it doesn't burn. Literally less than a minute.
3. Add entire remaining contents of both cans of sardines, breaking the fish into large chunks. Add beans, sundried tomatoes, capers, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
4. When pasta is ready, drain and return to its pot. Add sardine mixture, then lemon juice and parsley, and combine with the pasta (I find tongs work the best for this).
5. Divide pasta among four plates. Use Microplane to grate cheese onto each dish. You decide how much. Dig in!