Sardine is a small sized oily fish belonging to the Clupeidae family which are akin to the herring and have a number of uses both culinary as well as commercial. The sardines are often referred to as pilchards although the meaning of a sardine varies from region to region. The term sardine comes from the Mediterranean region of Sardinia where the fish was found in abundance in the past.
The British Sea Fish Authority considers the young pilchards to be synonymous with the sardines while the code of WHO classifies 21 different species of small fishes as the sardine. There are other ways of distinguishing the sardines from the pilchards too with the most common one being the size where fishes measuring less than 6 inches are classified as sardines.
The sardine recipe calls for using the canned variety of the fish usually.
History Of The Sardine Recipe
The Romans were believed to be the ones to use canned sardine in their recipes.
However, the records suggest that the sardines were first canned in 1820 at Nantes, France by Pierre-Joseph Colin who begun the process in his vegetable canning plant.
The sardine recipe continued to be a rarity even in the early 1900s. The sardine gained entry into most American kitchens in 1957.
The sardines were canned on a commercial basis by Eagle Preserved Fish Co. located in Maine. The last sardine canning company of the United States of America was also located in Maine which was closed down in April 2010.
Sardine Recipe In Popular Cultures
The sardines are usually packed very closely together within cans which can be opened with the aid of a key attached to a side of the can or by means of a pull tab. Sardines are enjoyed by people all across the world with each of them having their own favorite sardine recipe. Sardine packing or canning is also a popular industry in most of these regions.
• France- Fishing and canning of the sardines is extremely popular in the Brittany region of the country where the fish is fried and dried prior to canning.
• Serbia- Uses fish from Croatia which is then canned in Belotinac village. Although a landlocked country, the people of Serbia enjoy consuming the fish cooked according to the traditional sardine recipe.
• India- Consumed by the people residing in the southern states of the country, the sardine is prepared by following the sardine recipe for fried fish which makes use of the fresh variety only.
• Morocco- The leading country when it comes to sardines. It is currently the largest exporter of fish to European markets while its domestic canning markets rely on sardines almost totally.
• Peru- Fish consumption particularly those that are prepared in accordance with the traditional sardine recipe have been very popular in the country right from the ancient days. The consumption has been reduced due to a number of factors recently with only 2% of the fish being directly eaten by its residents.
• Spain- Fresh fish served in the fried or grilled form is a popular snack item for the tourists visiting the country.
• United Kingdom - The Cornish sardines are now being sold in accordance with the EU law which also enjoys the PGI protection.
Popular Sardine Recipes
Sardines are cooked in a number of ways with each country having its favorite recipe. Some of the most popular recipes that use the fish are:-
• Pan Fried Spicy Fish- Marinated with garlic and parsley and pan fried by covering it in flour flavored with cumin and other spices.
• Sardine Balls Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce- A Moroccan dish cooked in a zesty, thick tomato sauce and eaten as a part of a fish meal or as a side dish.
• Sardinhas Assadas- The Portuguese version of grilled sardines is served along with an array of vegetables which includes potatoes and peppers.
• Tapas- Fried pilchards or sardines are popular as tapas or an appetizer that is usually served with alcoholic drinks.
• Stuffed Fish- the Greeks eat the fish in a baked form which has been stuffed with a mixture of parsley and garlic.
Non Food Uses Of Sardines
While the fish is mostly used for human consumption it can also be used for manufacturing oil which is an integral part of various paints, varnishes and linoleum. Animal feeds and baits are also prepared with these tiny fishes.
Nutritional Facts Of Sardines
The sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are believed to reduce the risk of cardio vascular diseases. They may also be effective in reducing blood glucose levels by a miniscule amount. They are also full of proteins, calcium and vitamin B12. Another pleasing fact about this particular fish is its low contaminant property which makes it a healthy food product.
A number of children’s games are named as sardines. They usually consist of the participants lying closely together like the small fishes packed in close proximity.