I know, we don’t usually connect a sardine recipe with appetizers, for a party no less. Perhaps we should more often, though, because sardines are said to be one of the world’s most healthful foods. They’re low in calories, high in B-vitamins, omega-3’s, calcium, and protein, promoting healthy hearts, strong bones, low cholesterol, clear thinking, and longevity. And they’re incredibly flavorful. Who knew?
But if you just can’t get your head around the concept of healthy party food, you can opt for bbq beef, teriyaki chicken, shrimp or ham.
2 large heads
romaine lettuce, 16 large leaves
1 1/2 cups cooked rice of your choice
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 (3.75 oz.) can boneless, skinless sardines in olive oil
4 green onions, trimmed and thin-sliced
Remove about 3 inches from the base of the romaine heads, freeing the leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Add 16 of the largest romaine leaves to the pot and simmer for 1 minute. Remove, drain and dry with paper toweling.
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir the vinegar-sugar mixture into the cooked rice.
Place a rounded tablespoon of rice at the base, the cut end, of a romaine leaf. Top with a small piece of sardine and a sprinkling of green onions. Fold the sides of the lettuce in over the filling and roll up tightly. Repeat for the remaining leaves. Serve with Dijon Mustard Sauce, below.
This sardine recipe does double duty as a first dinner course as well as an appetizer. It makes 16 appetizers or serves 4 as first course.
Substitute any flavorful meat or seafood for the sardines. Ham goes very well with the mustard sauce. Or try pieces of chicken, beef or pork tossed in barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce, with extra sauce on the side for dipping. Same with sweet and sour shrimp.
Hot Dijon Mustard Sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried, crumbled tarragon
2 cloves garlic, minced, or to taste
all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. If the sauce seems too thick add a little more sherry.