Mediterranean Sardines on Rice

Ok, I think I am finally getting the sardines thing down. I have tons of sardines and lots of rice, so I am trying to figure out something to make with them. This was by far the best one of them all:
2 tins sardines
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup canned spinach
1 small onion, yellow or white, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup black olives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Basque fish sauce
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp red wine garlic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
1 Tbsp capers
1 slice lemon
20 shakes of pepper
Cook the rice. Boil 2 cups of water in a pan and add 8 oz. rice to boiling water. Turn to low, cover and cook 15 minutes or until water has boiled away. Set rice aside.
Peel the onion and garlic clove and remove 2 cloves. Peel the 2 garlic cloves. Chop the onion and garlic cloves on a board and set aside. In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium high. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook on medium high until caramelized (light brown).
Turn heat off. Drain and chop olives and add. Add fish sauce, capers, mustard, vinegar, chili sauce and sardines to pan. Set one sardine aside to add as a garnish. Turn heat back on to medium high and cook, stirring. Break up sardines as you stir. Stir until well-cooked.
Drain spinach and add to the mixture. Cook spinach on medium high with the rest of the sautee. Add 20 shakes of pepper and stir in. Now add rice to mixture and cook on medium high. Stir rice in well with the mixture until the rice is sort of a greenish-gray color. Add spices to taste.
Can be served hot or cold, but I ate it hot. Add slice of lemon on top. I squeezed the lemon out onto the rice. Add final sardine as a garnish on top. Eat away!
This was the best meat and rice dish I have cooked so far. I was dubious about the chili sauce, but chili sauce is used with seafood and in shrimp cocktails, so I decided to take a chance. I hardly knew what capers were, but the capers go with sardines perfectly and the capers just about make the dish! I was also unsure about the spinach, but the spinach went fantastically with the whole dish. You can definitely add some Italian parsley, but I didn’t have any.
It has a really strong, Mediterranean, fishy smell and taste, so if you don’t like sardines, you won’t like this.
Capers are little things in a jar that look like miniscule olives. They’re cheap – about $1.50/jar. The chili sauce is cheap – $2/bottle. A good bottle of vinegar will set you back $3. Extra virgin olive oil is expensive, but worth it, at around $7-8 bottle. The lemon, onion and garlic bulb cost almost nothing.
The Basque fish sauce, sardines, olives and spinach were lying around. Rice is cheap. Sardines are cheap too.
Keep in mind that to get 2 cups of rice, you use I cup of rice and 2 cups of water, because rice expands in water.
You need to wear an apron because stuff splashes around a lot.
Cooking isn’t gay, it’s macho! If you’re a bachelor, you either learn to cook or you eat like a dog. Real men cook!

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9 thoughts on “Mediterranean Sardines on Rice”

  1. Sounds nice, but it’s all the time involved in finding the ingredients that puts me off trying more adventurous recipes. I made my own lamb curries a couple of times, using all the real spices, like cardamoms and cumin etc, and it was the best I’d ever tasted, but it takes so long.
    Here’s a simple tip – stir fry broccoli (with garlic if you like – the Chinese like that) after softening it up by steaming. It’s like a completely different food, delicious with mashed potatos and any meat ( especially steak), except white fish in my experience. And don’t eat with a sauce. or you’ll miss the flavour. Same with root vegetables, like carrots, turnip, swede, parsnips ( I suspect you Americans have different names for these) – though these respond better to roasting in the oven after lightly spooning some oil over them – don’t oversteam them, and don’t put the heat too high in the oven – experiment till you get it right. These have all got delicious flavours if you bring them out – boiling just makes them a flavourless stodge.
    Apart from not being a dog, the reason for not living on instant foods is they just don’t give you the nutrition to stay healthy.

  2. Nothing to finding the ingredients. Just go to the store with a list and fill your basket. Shopping is kind of fun, actually. There’s lots of people there, women too, and people always trip on a guy shopping for cooking-type foods. After a while, you will have most of the stuff you need, and you will hardly need to go to the store much anyway.
    I guess Brits are not like Continentals. The Continental guys I know go shopping every day just about for fresh food and love to cook. These guys are like Italians, etc. I spent like $7.50 before this meal. The place still smells so great! Oh man!
    I need to learn about roasting vegetables in an oven with oil. It sounds interesting. I don’t even know how to steam vegetables. I think I need to get a steamer, correct?
    Yes, boiling vegetables is perfectly horrible. It’s ridiculous. My father loves them boiled in water, and wants it served drowning in the water. Ridiculous.
    Cooking does take a lot of time, but it’s exercise in a weird way (my back told me that!) and what else am I doing with my time anyway? Put on some music or the radio, set the timer, and have some fun. The kitchen’s a great place man. Now, if I didn’t have to be on the phone to my MOM every 45 minutes (including in the grocery store) to ask what the Hell I’m doing.

  3. steamers – I’ve got a little collapsible stainless steel one, that opens up to fit a pot. You can probably get something similar for a couple of bucks in any household goods store. Just a little water in the bottom of the pot – a few cm; bring to the boil, cover ( a plate will do); then simmer – 10 minutes will do for broccoli. Then stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
    Don’t forget the broccoli stalks – they taste as good as the rest, but you have to slice them up thin and steam them a bit longer.

  4. steamer – basically a perforated steel basket, with short legs so it can stand mostly above the water in a pot. Or a bowl in a covered pot will do.

  5. Fresh spinach too – steam for a minute or 2, till it shrinks and softens; press the moisture out; stir fry for a minute or 2. Yum yum!

  6. I love capers. Everyone I have introduced them to thinks they are poison. also an Egyptian friend of mine just recommended eating watermelon with feta cheese on hot bread. .

  7. I don’t know about the watermelon. Capers are an interesting food. When they are pickled like that, they go perfectly with fish. They taste very salty and fishy, almost like an anchovy. They go fantastically with sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc. I must say the capers pretty much made that dish. People I talked to insisted that they were expensive, too, but they were actually rather cheap.

  8. Thanks for this recipe. I will definitely try it I’m trying to duplicate a sardine and rice dish that my husband bought home from an African friend’s dinner party. Though, I remember the taste a bit hot. Do you have any suggestions what to use to make it moderately hot tasting? Or, will the chili sauce do?

    1. Oh I am not sure at all. The chili sauce is not hot at all. I am not sure what to put in it to make it hot actually. This is a Mediterranean dish, and such dishes are not usually hot.

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