Sardine Toast with avocado, tomato relish and garlic chips makes for a perfect summer lunch or light dinner. Inspired by Portuguese cuisine, a must try, super hearty healthy and omega 3 loaded dish. Gluten Free + Dairy Free
After going on a food tour in Lisbon, Portugal and learning about Portugal’s fascination with tinned seafood (canned fish for my American readers) I was intrigued.
This culture fully embraces and respects fish in a can. This is no sad tuna in a can for 40 cents we’re talking about. There is a whole section of the grocery store and entire restaurants where the menu is comprised solely of tinned fish products.
No joke. And they’re favorite canned fish here? Sardines. If I have learned anything in Portugal it’s that these people love their cod and sardines. During the annual June festival of St. Anthony, the patron saint of Lisbon, the entire city goes sardine crazy. In the Alfama district, with it’s narrow winding streets you will find grilled sardines in every single restaurant and on every grill. It’s incredible. According to statistics Portugal consumes the equivalent of 13 sardines per second during the month of June.
During the rest of the year the grilled fresh sardine frenzy dies down, and it’s more about the canned smaller sardines.
These come in a variety of different sauces, marinades, dressings, etc and while a whole assortment of price ranges. Before modern preservation techniques and refrigeration tinned fish was the perfect way to maintain the lifespan of all those sardines, and while the canned fish did go out of fashion, at some point, recently it’s come back in style.
The restaurant across from the apartment we were renting in Lisbon was solely for tinned fish, and that’s not the only one in Lisbon.
I needed to see what the fuss was all about, so bought two different cans of sardines, one in a tomato sauce and the other in regular olive oil. How to eat them though?
On open faced toast of course! With a hearty and flavorful tomato garlic relish, creamy and smooth avocado sliced drizzled with lime juice and topped with a few garlic chips. The combination of flavors is exquisite, and makes for a very sophisticated yet budget and time friendly meal. Perfect for a summer lunch or light dinner.
And yes those garlic chips are a must. You just need to pan fry thinly sliced garlic in olive oil, until lightly browned, remove and drain on paper towels and you’re left with crunchy crispy mini chips of garlic and garlic infused olive oil in the pan (to now use for the tomato relish). Garlic chips also happen to be awesome as a pasta topping as well as sprinkled on tops of salads or my all time favorite cauliflower recipe.
This sardine toast is bound to be your new favorite lunch. At the very least you need to give it a shot. Just think you’re eating a Portuguese exotic meal for under a few bucks. And you’re getting all those health benefits too, because as it turns out sardines are actually super super healthy. These little fish are packed full of omega 3s, protein, selenium, calcium, vitamin D, etc. It’s always healthier to eat small fish rather than big fish so if you’re eating fish, give sardines (and sardine toast) a chance!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion thinly sliced
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 large heirloom tomato chopped
- 2 - 4 tablespoon red wine
- 1 lime
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 4 - 8 slices of gluten free bread toasted
- 2 cans sardines
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan and add garlic. Saute until lightly browned and drain on paper towels.
- To the oil add the onion, salt, pepper and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomato breaks down into a paste. Add the red wine and cook until reduced.
- Serve sardine toast with avocado, tomato relish, pieces of sardines on top and sprinkled with lime juice and garlic chips.