People are going to great lengths these days to clean up their diet, and I love it. Organic foods are the largest growing department in Costco, farmers markets are popping up all over the place, and it’s not uncommon to see grass-fed beef and organic chicken in your favorite dining establishments. With all this effort to get back to a more natural diet, there is one source of food that, for the most part, is being overlooked, and it’s the topic of today’s post.
As a kid, I was amazed by the mystery of fishing. From the surface, the water looked like the only thing moving were the seagulls floating on top but with a pole, some bait, and a lot of luck you could send your bait out into the abyss and snag one of the last naturally wild things in our foodshed, a fish. My first memory of catching a fish was with my dad on the docks at Bodega Bay. I caught a smelt. It was the only fish landed that day, and I went home a champion!
There is an argument that our oceans are far from natural anymore. Mercury, dioxins, and countless other chemicals are a real thing and not to be overlooked. That, my friends, is why I go for the little fish. I love sushi too, but large predator fish like tuna, king mackerel, swordfish, and the like have been around long enough to accumulate these poisons in their tissues. Little fish, on the other hand, like sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have such a short life they are relatively free from toxins and nutrient powerhouses of protein, omega 3 fats, and critical minerals.
I know what you’re thinking. Sardines? In a can? Are you serious? Yes, I’m serious. Sure they take some time getting used to, and there are some less than tasty ones out there, so I’ve run the gauntlet for you and will only tell you about my favorites. I typically eat them straight out of the can with a huge salad and maybe some plantain chips. They are convenient, portable, and cheap. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and see what all this fishy business is about. Eat 2-3 cans a weak and you can stop chugging down 4 capsules of fish oil every day. Let’s eat
These are some of my favorites, but there are lots to try
- Cole’s was the first brand that I truly enjoyed when first getting into the genre. I like them with a good spoonful of regular or dijon mustard, and sometimes hot sauce
- Pronounced (Mateeth) these are high-grade fishies. I never met a Matiz product I didn’t like
- Bela has delicious flavor selections. These two, Lemon or Piri Piri (think clove, onion, and hot pepper) are always winners and rarely need any additions
- Bon Appetit makes a quality product with a nice olive oil taste. The cans run on the small side so you might want to pop open two
- Safe Catch is a new fishery that tests their fish right on the boat for mercury level. This here is salmon and its tasty. They also have the only Tuna I will eat. Mix with a little fresh dill, lemon, and olive oil and you have a meal in a bag
- Costco has salmon on the cheap. Not the best tasting but it’ll due in a pinch especially if all you are making is salmon salad or croquette
- The newest offering at Costco from Safe Catch is their sardines. Rich, and meaty with just the right amount of salt. Plain or with a little mustard or soy sauce
- Wild Planet makes the only anchovies I like. They also make a dynamite sardine in olive oil. The can looks just like this one
Any suggestions for us vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free people out there? Hope you’re doing well Andy.. 🙏
I typically eat sardines with a big garden salad for lunch. A vegan option would have a side of 1 cup beans or lentils and 1/2 cup rice or quinoa. You could also just mixed the rice and beans in the salad. That combination will provide you with about 20g of protein, which is not bad for a vegan dish. If you eat eggs, adding 2-3 hard-boiled on top of your salad will provide the same 20g of protein. Or you could make an egg salad and put that on top of your salad.
Nice to hear from you Jodie. Let’s catch up soon
I’m not a fan of sardines, but willing to try with the right ingredient added that’s tasty.
I too had to mask the taste a bit when I first started eating canned fish. Things like mustard, mayo, hot sauce, lemon, pickles, green onions, dill, celery, and olives are good additions to try