Sardines are actually healthy. These oily fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help in maintaining cholesterol level and in having a healthy heart. Recent studies even suggest that omega-3 fatty acids slow the progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Sardines are also a good source of protein, Vitamin D, calcium, and Vitamin B.
Sardines are said to be extremely low in contaminates such as mercury. But this has yet to be confirmed.
In the Philippines however, sardines, particularly canned sardines, are always associated with being a poor man's food. Probably because of these fishes' abundance in our waters, they are being sold relatively cheaply, in cans. Canned sardines is often considered a basic food item, like rice, and bread, that even the government has to track its price from time to time. Canned sardines in tomato sauce or in oil is a versatile food item to have in the pantry. It can be eaten straight from the can. Or simply sauteed with onions, or made into soup with misua, or into an omelette with mung bean sprouts.
Recently though, there are "gourmet" sardines (and milkfish) that are coming out in the market. Of course, these are priced exorbitantly. These gourmet sardines often comes in glass bottles, cooked Spanish style in herb-infused Olive oil, thereby justifying their exorbitant price. Being a self-proclaimed foodie, of course, I just have to try and taste these gourmet sardines, even once. :)
Being one not to waste even the oil that comes in the bottle, I decided to use these sardines, olive oil and all in a pasta.
350 gms linguini pasta, prepared and cooked according to package directions
1 bottle (225gms) Spanish Style Sardines in Tomato and Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 pcs bell peppers, chopped
3 pcs finger chillies or jalapeno peppers, sliced (or more if you prefer it spicier)
5 large tomatoes, chopped
a handful of basil leaves, snipped
1/4 C sliced black olives
1/2 C Olive oil
1 T salt (or to taste) and pepper to taste
250 gms shelled shrimps
3 T olive oil
3 slices ginger
5 T minced garlic
3 pcs sliced jalapeno peppers or finger chillies (siling haba)
1. Heat up the 3 T olive oil in a wok or a large cooking pan. Saute the ginger until fragrant. Add in the garlic and the jalapeno peppers.
2. Add in the shrimps and saute until pink and cooked. Set aside.
3. In the same cooking pan, pour in all the contents of the bottled sardines. Mash all the sardines meat.
4. Heat up the pan, and add in the garlic, onions. Saute everything until bubbly. Add in the tomatoes. Let cook for a while until tomatoes are soft and some juices come out.
5. Add in the finger chillies, bell peppers and the basil. Add in the sliced olives and olive oil as well. Add in salt and pepper. Turn off heat
6. Add in the pasta into the pan. Mix to coat all the noodles well.
7. Ladle into individual serving plates and top with the cooked shrimps.
It turned out to be quite a flavorful pasta dish. Daughter said she prefers this kind of sauce over our regular meat sauce. We shared this with our Tuesday Bible Study group last week and they declared it to be the best "sosi" (the word is slang for high-end) pasta they have tasted.
Sharing this dish with the Presto Pasta Nights community, headed by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. This week's host is Judith of Think On It. To see last week's delicious pasta dishes, please click here.