I’d been avoiding them for a while, the two sad little tins of sardines left in my pantry by a previous houseguest. Sure, I’d glanced at a few articles celebrating the yumminess of sardines, even pondered a very convincing sandwich recipe from a food blogger I respect, but I was still fearful. There was a block, a phobia, a firmly ingrained distaste. To me, sardines were Depression-Era food for bachelors in crumpled jackets and faded fedoras living in sad little apartments with fold-away beds and mean-looking landladies always chasing them for rent. Sardines were something you fed stray cats or people you didn’t like. Sardines weren’t for me. Even the brand name on the package, “Millionaire’s Club Sardines,” made me suspicious. (Talk about a hard sell.)


Then today, a friend sent me a link for “The Eleven Best Foods You Aren’t Eating” and there they were again, taunting me with their nutritional merits. Some very smart doctor called them, “healthfood in a can.” They’re high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. Sardines also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as all those important B vitamins we keep hearing about. Basically, you’d have to be a moron not to eat sardines.


What was wrong with me? How could I keep avoiding something that was clearly so good for me, especially when I had two tins sitting in my pantry ready to go? It’s like not wearing a lifejacket in a speeding motorboat, or refusing to fasten your seatbelt. I was being stupid. That’s all.


With the FC away in France visiting his famille, tonight was the perfect night for me to face my sardine fears head on, eating alone (so no one would have to watch me gag.)


I scanned the net and chose a Sicilian-Style Sardine Pasta recipe from Rachel Ray. Removing the centre bone from the small slippery filets was the worst part, and the resulting pile of mush did not look very appetizing. But I persisted, repeating my new sardine mantra (“healthfood in a can, healthfood in a can…”)


When the recipe was done and a forkful of sardine pasta finally reached my virgin mouth, it was a decisive moment. The sardines were… delicious.


As I write this blog entry, a mere two hours after my sardine breakthrough, I swear I can actually feel the sardines swimming through my bloodstream, blasting toxins with a spray of Omega 3 gunfire. I’m energized, alert, and maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think my skin is glowing. Sardines are now officially my new staple and I plan on getting some sardine goodness into my body at least once a week from now on. I might even join The Millionaire’s Club.


Sicillian-Style Spaghetti With Sardines


The sardines pair well with the garlic and chilli and a surprisingly gentle fish flavour permeates the spaghetti beautifully. You don’t need any sauce. I particularly love the taste and texture of the sauteed breadcrumbs with parsley. A solid feel-good weeknight dish.


Adapted from Rachel Ray.




whole wheat pasta (two servings) cooked per directions
1 tin of sardines, drained, boned and chopped
1 piece of toasted bread, torn/crumpled, or four tablespoons of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon of chopped parsley
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green onion, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
salt to taste




To a large skillet preheated over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and the chopped garlic. Sautee for a minute. Add the bread crumbs, or crumpled toast. Stir several minutes. Add parsley and a pinch of salt. Transfer bread crumbs to a dish and reserve.


Return skillet to heat and add another teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Add green onion, sardines and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute over medium heat 2 or 3 minutes. Add hot, cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with sardines. Add bread crumbs to the pot and toss thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute the mixture. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.


Serves two.

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