Toasted whole wheat bread topped with thinly sliced cheddar, arugula, sardines, red onion, capers, more cheddar and then toasted until the cheese is melted, lightly browned and bubbly. This open-faced sardine melt is a fun and delicious twist on the classic tuna melt sandwich.
Sardines – either you love them or you don’t – there’s not much in between. Hopefully, if you’re reading this post, you either love them or you’re open to trying them. Let’s continue.
What are sardines?
Sardines are small saltwater fish – usually just 6 to 12 inches with beautiful silvery scales and one dorsal fin. They swim in large schools and can be found all over the world. There are many different species of sardines and they can either be sold fresh or canned.
What do sardines taste like?
Sardines are a full-flavored fish, though not overpowering and a tad sweet – they are meaty, rich and oily. They are more mild than anchovies, but typically have more flavor than your average canned tuna. Sardines have a brininess, but much less salty than anchovies, and sodium content will vary depending on brand and what else is in the tin (extra virgin olive oil, water, tomato sauce, etc.). And of course, flavor of the sardines will vary depending on where they are sourced, the brand and what they are canned in.
Ingredients you’ll need for this sardine melt:
To make this melt, you’ll need:
- A hearty whole wheat or whole grain slice of bread
- Thinly sliced cheddar cheese
- Tin of sardines
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh parsley (optional)
How do you make this open-faced fish melt?
First, toast your bread.
Then, preheat your broiler. Add 2 slices cheddar to your bread.
Top the cheese with arugula.
Top the arugula with sardines.
Add red onion and capers.
Add more sliced cheddar.
Then broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Top with optional fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
Are sardines good for you?
Yes! Sardines are incredibly nutritious. In addition to being rich in protein, they are loaded with brain and heart health promoting omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, selenium and more. Additionally, since sardines are low on the food chain, they are very low in mercury, so can be consumed regularly with any concern over mercury levels.
Can you eat the skin and bones in canned sardines?
Yes. The canning process softens the bones of the sardines, so they are completely soft and edible, not crunchy or unpleasant at all – and very nutritious (packed with calcium). The skin is so thin you likely won’t even notice it’s there.
How do you eat sardines?
However you like! Straight out of the tin, on toast, on crackers, in salads (we especially like them in bean salads), on sandwiches, with lemon, and more.
What brands of sardines are the best?
There are endless brands of sardines available at your local grocery stores and specialty stores. Your best bet – try a bunch of different brands, domestic and imported and find your favorite. The tin here contains sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil and preserved lemon and is from Fishwife, a brand we adore.
Looking for more tinned fish recipes? Try these:
- Spring Seacuterie Board
- Fall Seacuterie Board
- Open Faced Tuna Melt
- Mediterranean Tuna Pizzas
- Cheddar Pesto Tuna Melt
- 1 slice whole wheat or whole grain bread
- 4 thin slices cheddar cheese
- 1 handful arugula
- 1 4.2 ounce can sardines drained
- 2 thin slices red onion
- 1 tablespoon capers
- fresh parsley chopped, optional
- lemon wedge
- Toast bread. Preheat broiler.
- Top bread with 2 thin slices cheddar, then arugula, then sardines, then red onion and capers and finally remaining 2 slices cheddar.
- Broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly golden. Sprinkle with parsley (optional) and serve with lemon wedges.
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