Market Report: Sardines, the New Tuna

MaincansWhen the gastromoms and dads of the world learned that canned tuna was not to be relied upon as in days past (overfished, mercury, etc), they lost an entire subcategory of convenience food (at least we still have peanut butter). But I had an epiphany of sorts when I stumbled upon what might just become the new tuna in our household: Bela Olhao lightly smoked canned sardines (you can get them at various supermarkets and also online at; i prefer the classic version, tho there are other flavored varieties). At around 2 bucks a pop, these Portuguese sardines have amazing bang for buck: they are perfectly seasoned, loaded with omega-3s, packed in olive oil, not too fishy tasting, and are one of the few fish that seem to be okay to eat from a health and sustainability point of view. My kids are big fans of the animated show Pingu which is about Penguins, which might help explain why they’re quite comfortable with eating whole fish, shiny skin, bones and all.

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6 Responses to Market Report: Sardines, the New Tuna

  1. August says:

    How are you serving them?
    Tuna is a little more flexible; with sardines I haven’t found a different way to prepare it or anything new to serve with it.

  2. Hugh says:

    so far we’ve eaten them penguin-style: unadorned, straight out of the can.
    but i imagine they’d go well with some crusty bread, toasted or not; on a sandwich with some good mustard; or in a salad, nicoise-style.

  3. izzy's mama says:

    My boy has been eating sardines since about 18 months. Back then I mashed them up. You can prepare them like tuna if you wish, with mayo etc. as well. Or, as you say, straight from the can. Also if your kids like sardines, anchovies are another sure hit, at least they are around here. We have never tried the brand of sardines you mentioned. We will have to check it out. We just eat the brand I grew up eating, King Oscar.

  4. Brandon says:

    I forgot about sardines . . . despite the terror they’ll probably inspire, I’ll give them a try (I’ll try anything at this point). The penguin angle is very clever, however, and might just sell them to the masses.

  5. primadonnamomma says:

    Or try substituting wild salmon in pouches. Like tuna, but less polluted. I found them at my supermarket.

  6. snaj says:

    Oh wow, I wish my little one would eat sardines! I eat them mashed with a little Worchestshire, lemon juice, finely chopped onions and a few drops of hot sauce on Wheat Thins–yum! My famliy actually served this as a special appetizer for parties so this is actually one of my kid food memories.

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