Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brain Food

They say that eating oily fish is good for all sorts of body parts, the liver, the heart, and the grey matter.

Being on a student budget, and having not eaten fish recently, I decided to try my hand at creating a fishy dish.  Really fresh oily fish is hard to get in the country, so tinned is a good way to go.  It's canned at the source, locking in freshness.

Now the tinned sardine is cheap, plentyful and healthy, in fact it is one of the highest Omega 3 oils of any sea creature, higher then tuna and salmon.  It goes well with tomato, olive oil, garlic and a few herbies.  A small amount of chilli powder adds to the flavour of the other ingredients without adding heat.

Here is my rendition of this Italian style dish:

3x 100g tins of good sardines in oil, or you can use herrings as well
1x 440g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp of dried herbs (I used oregano, u can use basil, or mixed italian herbs)
1 pip of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chilli powder
pinch of salt/pepper

First make the sauce by simmering the tomatoes, the garlic, chilli powder and a good pinch of herbs for 1/2 an hour in a medium saucepan with lid on.  When it starts to thicken, add some oil 1-2 tbsps from one of the cans.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  The oil helps "carry the flavour"through the dish.
Simmer for a bit more, about 1/2 an hour with 1/2 cup of water and 1 tbsp tomato paste.  You can leave the saucepan lid off to help the sauce thicken.
Add the tinned fish, and let it rest with the lid on

Serve with pasta or rice and steamed greens.  I like a crisp dry white with this dish, a riesling or a semillon would be just fine.

Obviously, in Italy they would use fresh sardines, straight from the trawler. But some of the tins are ok, buy the best you can afford, and your noggin will thank you for it.

Buon Appetito !


  1. I was reading in The Age yesterday (for the international readers, it's a newspaper in Melbourne), Guy Grossi (Aussie-Italian Chef) is cooking Australian Sardines outside his new restaurant "The Merchant" in Melbourne.
    Grossi has received culinary praise from around the world, including awards from the Italian Prime Minister. Apparently he is showcasing the Australian Sardine with Australian made Vermintino, a white wine of Italian origin. I believe tastings are free..

    More details may be obtained by contacting the restaurant
    +613 9614 7688

  2. i think it is supposed to be vermentino. apologies to the wine afficionadoes :)