Canned Sardines Are The Delicious Foundation For A Great Casserole

sardines on a plate
sardines on a plate - FotosDo/Shutterstock

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

It's a safe bet to say that canned sardines have garnered a mixed reception. Overall, the canned fish can be a bit of an acquired taste with some finding sardines to be too fishy or too salty for them. Likewise, others never actually make it to properly trying the fish, too revolted by the sight of seafood in a can. However, if you can put all that aside, it's possible that sardine haters aren't eating the fish properly. Sardines can be a versatile ingredient in a number of recipes including sardine salads. Just take a casserole for instance.

Sardine casserole can be the perfect gateway for people who are perhaps a bit reluctant to try the fish. Rather than masking canned sardine's flavors, a proper casserole celebrates the complexities of the fish, melding it with other ingredients that highlight its salty, briny taste. Sardines are a perfect way to add a bit of flavor and saltiness to your casserole without going overboard on flavor. When combined with the creaminess of a casserole, you get a dish that's tasty and rich but doesn't overwhelm the senses.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Fresh Sardines Vs Canned Sardines

sardines in a can
sardines in a can - Gmvozd/Getty Images

While in the culinary world, fresh instead of canned is generally encouraged. Using canned sardines in your casserole is the way to go for a number of reasons. For one, availability plays a major role. While you can find canned sardines at many local grocery stores, the same is not true of fresh sardines. Unless you live in a coastal town or in a major city with a fish market, you may struggle to find fresh sardines. Sure, you can probably have some delivered online, but they're generally much more expensive than the canned version.

Putting aside the cost factor, using fresh sardines instead of canned sardines will completely change the flavor that you're going for. Generally, canned sardines have a much higher sodium percentage than fresh sardines, which gives them that salty, briny flavor that we mentioned above. Comparatively, fresh sardines are a lot milder tasting. That's perfect if you want to cook and eat sardines by themselves, but it's not what you want when making a sardine casserole. You want that saltiness and strong seafood taste to shine through. You won't get that with fresh sardines, leading to a casserole that might be more muted as a result.

What Ingredients To Include

canned sardines
canned sardines - Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

When it comes to making a sardine casserole, there's a degree of creative liberty that you might not find with other dishes. In fact, when you really think about it, casseroles are just one dish meals that you bake in the oven. You could make 100 of them and each would be different. Besides, that you're free to chart your own path to a certain degree. Certain ingredients seem to pair well with sardines if you're really trying to compliment their flavors.

While there's not a traditional sardine casserole blueprint, the recipes that have been made have often paired sardines with a cream or cheese and with a grain like rice or pasta. It makes a certain amount of sense. You want a creamy base that won't overwhelm the saltiness of the sardines but will provide a nice counterbalance. Likewise, incorporating rice or pasta will provide additional texture to your dish. Using a bit of white wine or lemon juice will help reduce some of the oil that's on the fish from the canning process. If you're looking to add some vegetables to the mix, olives and tomatoes also pair well with sardines and can add a bit of sweetness or bite to your casserole.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.