As hard this is to admit, I say I kinda look down on sardines because at home we usually open a can when we don't have anything to cook. It taste good on its own, but at times we usually cook it with sotanghon and pechay leaves just to elevate its taste. Come to think of it, I seriously can't think of any other way to cook sardines other than that.
This week being the Lenten Season, people at Mega Sardines recently launched Mega Creations Premium Sardines via the Everyday Creations with Chef Greg Villalon, by preparing different dishes using this humble ingredient not usual to the typical types we do at home.
With the help of fellow blogger Josephine of Cogito Ergo Sum, they prepared two dishes:
Asian-Style Sardine Sub Sandwich True, one can just mash the sardines and spread it on pieces of bread (and toast it if you want to), but why not make it gourmet by adding Hoisin Sauce and Pickled Mushrooms? The Hoisin Sauce added a little sweet twist to the sandwich, while the Pickled Mushroom gave it the fruity tang (as it used Apple Cider Vinegar). It truly tasted good, but I think I will add lettuce leaves when I recreate this at home.
Moroccan Sardine and Sweet Potato Casserole Next key ingredients paired with the Mega Creations Premium Sardines are cumin and sweet potatoes. Very intriguing and interesting, right? Under the dish is mashed sweet potatoes (the orange kind so it will add more color), in the middle is the sardines layered with spinach and at the top is breadcrumbs mixed with cheese and olive oil. In a way it sort of reminds me of Shepherd's Pie, but very different - in texture and flavor (because of the cumin).
I loved the contrast between the slightly salty sardines and toasted breadcrumbs with cheese to the mashed sweet potatoes, and is perfect as a meal on its own.
The first two dishes may sound expensive, but they are not... and they're quite easy to prepare, too. For the final dish, they made sure cooking with Mega Creations Premium Sardines is very easy, which was why they called off two attendees to have a friendly cook-off. Well, proud sister here... one of the competitors was my brother!
Both of them were given the recipe sheet, all ingredients were cut and prepared, all they had to do was cook. Their dish is called Sardine and Cilantro Pesto Pasta, and at first I was a little worried because Ms. Roxanne of Lifestyle Channel was already a few steps ahead, while my brother was stuck on the first step because his pan wouldn't heat up. :)
They were given 10 minutes to cook their dish, and although Ms. Roxanne finished after 6 or 7 minutes, my brother was able to cook his dish within the time limit.
After tasting both dishes, I was happy to share that my brother was declared the winner. Yey!
This dish was amazing to say the least. Normally, when one say pesto, it would mean using basil as the main ingredient, yet this used cilantro and it tasted really good! Cilantro isn't something I always go for (because its taste can be a little overpowering), yet turning it into a pesto sort of mellowed the taste.
Mega Creations Premium Sardines is available in two variants - in Natural Oil and Spanish Style. I already got to taste both, and found them really tasty. What I loved the most was that it has less scales on the fish, making more pleasant to eat even on its own. The Spanish Style has a spicy kick, but not really that spicy, so even if you're not into spicy food, you will still get to enjoy it.
A Sandwich, a casserole, and a pasta dish. Just three of the many ways you can cook with sardines. If you would like to learn more ways of cooking with this (now) versatile ingredient, you can check the back label of any of the Mega Creations Premium Sardines, or... you can just sit back, relax, and watch "Everyday Creations" with Chef Greg Villalon at the Lifestyle Network every Fridays, starting on 05 April 2013 at 6:30pm, with replays every Sundays at 11:30am and Wednesdays at 6:00pm.
For more details about this up and coming culinary show, check their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MyEverydayCreations or check out Mega Sardines Website for more information about their products.