Picture this. Kara and I are in Italy a couple years ago for our honeymoon. For one of our day trips, we were in a small town called Ravello, one of the most beautiful towns we visited that trip.
Since we both love to cook, she found a chef who does private cooking lessons – we were both very excited for our adventure when we woke up.
The 3 of us are in Chef Vincenzino’s house, which was nestled in the mountain side overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Incredible, to say the least.
We had no idea what we’d be preparing that day … when we spoke beforehand, he said he would go to the market that morning and whatever was freshest, he’d pick up.
Well, lo and behold, fresh off the boat that morning … today’s heart healthy food you probably don’t eat (but should) … Sardines!
I have had them and enjoy them; I thought Kara’s eyes were going to fall out of her head when she heard that (as you can clearly see in this picture of Kara and Vincenzino).
Of course she wasn’t going to say no to the dinner we were all making with the Chef.
But, she quickly learned that when prepared well (and super fresh) the little fish are superb.
And, well, let's be honest — can anything taste bad when you have a view like this?
While going down to sea that morning and picking up fresh sardines unfortunately isn’t a luxury we enjoy daily in landlocked Kentucky, most grocery stores do carry fresh sardines (the term used lightly after eating ones caught that morning)…but stores do at the very least carry canned.
Don’t turn your nose up too soon.
I’ve found that most cringe when I suggest sardines as a powerful health food, yet it’s not because of a bad experience – instead, it’s the thought that these are super strong, fishy, horrible tasting fish. None of which are true.
But why are these little buggers so darn great for us?
They have significantly more omega-3 fats than wild salmon, they’re naturally high in vitamin D, which I recently told you I was found to be deficient in D, and they’re very low in mercury and other contaminants.
Oh yeah and they’re also sustainable, which is surely a great bonus!
The question now becomes – what do you do with these tiny omega 3 powerhouses?
They’re great in spaghetti sauce, or try them lightly breaded (dip in egg, whole wheat bread crumbs, then sauté in olive oil and garlic), or even just mixed with some mustard and used like you would tuna fish.
I urge you to give them a try, though.
I’ll go out on a limb and say sardines are the healthiest animal based food that we know of to date.
And you know, combine them with some of the foods that we made that day in Italy (pictured to the left) — fresh veggies, sardines, garlic and herbs, and your heart will LOVE YOU.
That's why they made our previous post — The 13 Healthiest Foods You're Not Eating (but should!)