Last year I decided to explore the world of sardines. I wrote a short piece in my blog about my first wave of tastings.
I had plans to publish my findings in a series of follow-up postings, grouping them into a best, good, and unacceptable, complete with photos of boxes and the contents. In the end I would have a nice little guide to sardines, with most everything one would want to know.
As the spring and summer rolled along I bought sardines wherever I found them - from grocery stores, food coops, TJ's, WF's, etc. I took pictures and sorted and organized them. I was all ready to roll with the grand story. But then one day I lost all interest in the project. I suddenly had enough of sardines. I deleted my pictures. I discarded every material piece of evidence. That was it.
But it has always bothered me, just a bit, that I never tidied up the loose ends here. So I will pass along my quick hits.
- Sardines packed in sauces - don't go there.
- Skinless and boneless sardines are typically dry, even if packed in oil. They may be useful as a part of a dish, but I don't recommended them as a snack out of the can.
- Sardines packed in water are bland.
- Sardines packed in soybean oil or any other industrial oil are not worth eating.
- Sardines packed in olive oil are usually better, but not always, depending on the brand.
- Like so many other industries, loss of the small factory leads to ever more blandess and mushy soft fish. Bumblebee, I'm looking at you.
- My favorite: King Oscar two-layer sardines in olive oil. Yes, King Oscar is also owned by Bumblebee and they are now packed in Poland. However, these are the best of the commonly found cans.
- And lastly - googling sardines will net you enough quirky blog entries to fill up many an hour you will never see again.