When did sardine get a bad rep? When I mentioned that sardines were in the lunch menu, I got a mixed reception. From the wrinkle-of-the-nose kind of expression to the straight forward Ewww, I wondered what it was about sardines that turned some people off. It was different for me growing up. Sardines were affordable in the Philippines and if they weren’t bought fresh from the market and then fried, they came in a can with spicy tomato sauce, eaten straight up or sautéed with onions.
Fresh Portuguese sardines are pricey here in New York so to stay under budget and still cook for fifteen people at work, I stayed with Trader Joe’s canned sardines in spring water. There was no salt added so the dressing here was quite perfect. Whatever seasoning the two mustards added, the celery’s bite balanced off. This will remind you of a simple tuna salad, only a tad more sophisticated especially if served with rye crackers or warm flat bread.
2 cans of sardines in spring water, preferably unsalted, drained
1 bunch of celery hearts, finely chopped
a handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, finely chopped
juice from half a lemon, plus some of its zest
oil, salt, pepper
1. In a large salad bowl, mix the parsley with the olive oil, the grainy and Dijon mustards, red onion, lemon juice and zest. Add in the sardines, crushing a bit, and toss in the celery. Season with salt and pepper, adding a little bit more oil as necessary.