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Monday, April 11, 2011

Choking Down Sardines

I'm now on the 9th day of this cleanse to determine what is causing my searing headaches. I kind of feel like a chemistry experiment. The special diet my doctor has me following requires at least one serving of fish per day. Ingesting that much fish might make normal people wonder about mercury. And I'm normal people.

But nature has genius ways of getting around mercury poisoning, in the form of teeny fish like sardines. The little oily fishies are high in the good stuff and low in the bad stuff. They are not, however, like dew drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, among my favorite things.

You could say I hate them. Yup. I hate them. They are, in a word, gross.

But in the battle between having a life free of the voodoo doll stabbing pain and risking death by heavy metal-induced disease, I'm opted for the lesser of two evils and tried making friends with what fishermen refer to as bait.

It was not easy. Their little bones stick to your teeth and seriously? Ick! But I persevered.

You can do funny things to the little Clupeids. Like smash them up and throw them in tomato sauce and curry powder with a bunch of sautéed veggies. They're less obvious that way (except for the smashed bones in your teeth...ick!) and actually not all that bad.

The original recipe calls for 3 whole cans of the little fishies, but that would have made enough to feed me for all 21 days of this elimination challenge, and I sure as hell do not want to be eating sardines forever, so no. It is also very clear to not break the sardines. Ooops.

I took a lot of liberties with the recipe. Like omitting the squash, swapping out scallions for green garlic (right now is the time to do it!), adding way more curry powder than called for (it's yummy), and generally turning it into a soup. In fact, that's what I'm calling it: Tomato Sardine Soup.

But it was edible. And made 2 servings worth, so I got to repeat the whole experience again at lunch the next day. Lucky me.




print recipe
Tomato Sardine Soup

Ingredients
1 can sardines (packed in water or oil or tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil (or use the oil from the can, if using oil-packed fish)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 sweet red onion, chopped
3 stalks of green garlic, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder (more to taste)
Fresh thyme
Instructions
1. In medium saucepan heat the oil and sauté the vegetables until the onions are translucent. Do not let the garlic burn. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add tomato sauce and sardines to the same saucepan. Smash up the fish to hide them from your eyes. Let simmer a few minutes until fish are heated through. 

3. Return vegetables back to the saucepan. Add the curry powder. Throw in some more, it won't hurt you. Simmer again for 5-8 minutes.

4. Serve in a warm bowl. Sprinkle some thyme in for added flavor and pretty color.
Yield: 2 servings

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