Monday, February 15, 2010

A Delightful Alton Brown Recipe: Sardine Avocado Open-face Sandwiches (No, Really)

Today on Serious Eats, it’s Mexican Chocolate Cake. Delicious, dairy-free, vegan, less than $2 to make.


I want y’all to hear me out here.

This is gonna sound weird. And your first instinct might be to throw your computer across the room, narrowly missing your houseplant or receptionist, depending on whether you’re at home or the office. (Or if you have a home receptionist.)

However, this Sardine Avocado Open-faced Sandwich is quite delicious.

You still with me?

Okay, good.

Here’s the story: about a year ago, Good Eats host/food nerd king Alton Brown found himself becoming a little poofy around the edges. So, over the next nine months, he endeavored to drop 50 pounds. During this period, one of his favorite dishes was … you got it: Sardine Avocado sandwiches.

As Alton is my food brother from another mother, and Serious Eats had nothing but good things to say about it, we had to try said sandwich.

And to my surprise, I really liked it. So did Husband-Elect. Whereas mayo-based salads can taste heavy and dull, this dish is kept fresh and lively by the cider vinegar, parsley, and lemon juice. Seasoned correctly, it’s an excellent alternative to tuna fish sandwiches.

Speaking of which, let's compare some numbers:

Alton’s Sardine Avocado Open-faced Sandwich
276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber

Panera Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat Bread
391 calories, 24.5 g fat, 3.1 g fiber

Subway 6-inch Tuna Sandwich on Whole Wheat
530 calories, 30 g fat, 5 g fiber

Right? Not to mention, the nutritive qualities are pretty out of this world. You want heart-healthy fats? This is your sandwich.

In the end, yes, this is an ugly food. And yes, its name sounds like a Dead Milkmen album. And yes, if you have issues with canned fish and/or whole animals than can be mushed with a fork, you may not like this recipe.

But I’m tellin’ ya: give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.


If you like this, you might also like:

Sardine Avocado Open-Face Sandwich
Serves 2.
Adapted from Serious Eats and Good Eats.

1 (3.75-oz) tin sardines in water
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 ripe medium avocado
2 slices whole wheat bread

1) Drain the sardines, reserving 1 tablespoon of sardine water. Zest the lemon, but reserve the fruit itself for later. Toast the bread.

2) In a small bowl combine sardines, reserved sardine water, parsley, vinegar, vegetable oil, lemon zest, a little salt, and a little pepper. Mash the sardines with a fork until you have a fairly chunky spread.

3) In a separate small bowl or on a small plate, mash the avocado with a fork until it becomes a fairly chunky spread.

4) Spread the sardine mixture on the pieces of bread. Spread each with avocado. Top with a little salt, a little pepper, and a good squeeze of the lemon. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber, $1.59

1 (3.75-oz) tin sardines in water: 140 calories, 7 g fat, 0 g fiber, $1.89
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped: 1 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.17
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1 teaspoon vegetable oil: 44 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.03
1/2 lemon: 6 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.30
Kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1/2 ripe medium avocado:161 calories, 14.8 g fat, 6.7 g fiber, $0.45
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted: 200 calories, 3 g fat, 8 g fiber, $0.31
TOTAL: 552 calories, 30 g fat, 14.9 g fiber, $3.18
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber, $1.59

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meldrob said...

I couldn't agree more, I have never eaten sardines, but my husband talked me into trying it and it is now a favorite. Healthy, delicious and only takes 10 minutes.

Katherine said...

I totally bought stuff for this last week after I saw that video of him explaining it. I think canned sardines are much more appetizing that some of the other crap Americans eat, lol. I do think the original recipe called for sherry vinegar, which is life-altering if you can get your hands on it! Thanks for the reminder to make this for lunch!

Anonymous said...

Seeing as I love my grandfather's favorite sandwich (sardines, red onion, and butter on rye,) I'm sure I'll love this!

I'll have to make it for lunch tomorrow.

Shannon said...

It was because I watched the Alton Brown episode that I tried sardines for the first time last week. It turns out they are delicious! I didn't have an avocado at the time, but the second half of the can I squished onto home made bread to make an open face sandwich and oh my, he's right. They are fantastic.

I also bought the Norwegian Brisling like he suggested.

claire said...

I liked your blog before, but now with a post that centers around Alton Brown and has a Dead Milkmen reference, you've won my heart! I've been eating a lot of avocado lately so I can't wait to try it like this.

JuLo said...

I have tried this and I LOVE it!!! You know what makes it even better? Hot sauce! Nom nom nom! Sometimes I just mix the avocado and sardines together and just scoop it up with some quinoa crackers.

Marcia said...

We must be separated at birth. I saw that episode a few weeks ago, and we've eaten that for dinner at least twice in the last three weeks. I don't think I've blogged it yet.

It's really good. And my boss has an avocado orchard (really, who needs a bonus...), so we've been FLUSH with avo's (like 12 every two weeks, no wonder my jeans are tight).

Kris said...

You guys, I can't believe everyone is so into this. I'm so happy! I thought for sure folks would be a little grossed out.

Mmm ... hot sauce.

Jelli Bean said...

This looks really yummy! I made a sardine-zucchini grilled cheesewich last week and LOVED it! I'll be my husband would like this too, as he's an avocado fanatic.

Olivia said...

I think sardines just get a bad rap because people confuse them with anchovies? I tried them for the first time a year ago and was like "Oh, this tastes like tuna. What's the big deal? Sustainable fish I can keep in the pantry!"

Needless to say, this sandwich is going on my to-do list.

Sue said...

Here in the UK sardines are widely available. We can buy them canned in sunflower oil, olive oil, tomato sauce or in water. There are more expensive gourmet options too. I think we eat quite a lot of canned oily fish and I always have a selection in my cupboards, sooo good for you.

I made this sandwich yesterday for my lunch and it was absolutely delicious. I sent my husband off to work with untoasted sardine and avocado sandwiches in his packed lunch today.Thank you for posting the idea.

Koahn said...

That was simply beautiful!!! I loved it more than I ever thought I could love dead fish. Will definitely make it again! :D

Jonny Hamachi said...

Welcome to the Society!

The Greenest Dollar said...

This was awesome!

I added tomato, paprika, and extra parsley and thought it was divine.

Thanks so much for getting me to try sardines...and liking it!

Baby Sweetness said...

ok, sardines are still giving me the heebie jeebies here. Would it reasonably work with tuna?

Kate said...

Like so many others, I only tried sardines because of this show, and the various blog posts which confirmed it was a good sandwich.

Why didn't I try them before?

It makes no sense. I love seafood. I love tuna. What is it about the lowly sardine that gets such a bad rap? It's just another kind of canned fish, like tuna.

I toasted some rustic bread, layered on some sardines, but my grocer's avocados were hard as rocks and pitiful. I did find some excellent guacamole, so I went with that style.

I smooshed the sardines on the toast, covered with guacamole, and topped with onions and cilantro.


Really, really satisfying. I'm thinking sardine tacos would be excellent.

I'm going to try your version because my sardines were packed in olive oil (tasty, but higher fat), and your version flavors up the water-packed variety.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! I like Sardines a lot, but love this recipe. The Cider vinegar & lemon zest completely gave the sardines a fresh taste. (I actually didn't have avocado, so it was just sardine toast but it was amazing. I can imagine with avocado--oh my God!!) :)