It pays to try several (many?) brands of sardines before deciding that you don’t like them or that you are “just okay” with them. Really good sardines from Morocco, for instance, taste so much like tuna that you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference in a taste test.
The brand I buy in Canada is “Club des Millionaires,” boneless, skinless, packed in safflower oil (which I pour off, as it’s not a paleo-friendly oil). It’s probably better to eat the kind with bones in for the calcium, but I really like these so I’ll stick with them for now. Just like tuna, these sardines don’t taste “fishy.” These sardines are packed by Harold T. Griffin Inc, Mississauga, Ontario. http://www.millionairefish.com/sardines.asp. They also have the same skinless, boneless ones packed in water, but I haven’t seen those locally.
After reading their Web site, I will try the ones with skin and bones that come from the Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, Morocco) if I can find them. They are the same as the boneless, skinless ones I get, but apparently have more flavour. I don’t know if I will appreciate the skin and bones. We’ll see.
I am also going to look for smoked sardines. There’s a recipe for them in a great cookbook I just bought called “For Cod and Country” by Barton Seaver. I can’t say enough about this cookbook… a paleo’s delight, even though it isn’t a strictly “paleo” cookbook.
There’s a huge thread over at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364987 on canned sardines with a long list of brands one of the contributors rated. He doesn’t mention Millionaires, but perhaps they go by a different brand name in the US or perhaps they are exclusively Canadian.
My favourite way to eat canned sardines is drained, straight from the can, at room temperature, with some Kimchee on the side. I have to rinse some of the chili flakes off the Kimchee as it’s too spicy for me otherwise, but the spiciness with the relatively bland sardines is an awesome combination. One of the simplest, quickest breakfasts you can make. I used to eat this combination on top of a bowlful of short-grain white rice, pre-paleo. Much easier on the digestion without the rice, though.
Good canned mackerel is also wonderful with Kimchee. Canned mackerel is also not all created equal! Always buy mackerel in flat cans, not round ones. I like John West for mackerel. Millionaires apparently has canned mackerel, too, but I haven’t seen it locally. I would definitely try it.
I think sauerkraut would be great with canned sardines or canned mackerel. Just make sure it’s an unpasteurized variety or you won’t get any benefits from the fermentation.
Because sardines are low on the food chain, they contain lower mercury than some other fish (like tuna), so I do share them with my cat Merry occasionally.
By the way Glutathione, found in rare/raw meats, unpasteurized milk, raw pastured eggs and some vegetables (e.g., fresh/uncooked tomatoes), protects against mercury toxicity. I prefer my steak as rare as possible (blue), and I have eaten raw eggs for forty years. Probably a good thing since I still have several amalgam (mercury) dental fillings. Read more on Glutathione and raw eggs here: http://www.amazing-glutathione.com/raw-eggs.html. Of course, your raw eggs should be from pastured hens fed NO soy products.
Fish with Lowest Mercury Content in Alphabetical Order:
- Crab (Domestic)
- Mackerel (North Atlantic, Chub)
- Perch (Ocean)
- Salmon (Canned, Fresh)
- Shad (American)
- Squid (Calamari)
- Trout (Freshwater)