[a medicinal cooking blog: using food as medicine to treat whatever may ail you]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Little Fish

I love little fish. All of them. Sardines, mackerel (the small and the larger ones), herring, anchovies, smelt, kippers, and on and on. Here's the wonderful medicinal news on them: they are excellent in every which way. They are neutral in thermal nature, which means that you won't heat up or cool down too much unlike many foods out there. If you eat something that is hot hot hot all the time, you will become...hot. Little fish nurture your yin, which is all the moisture and lubrication that keeps your joints moving smoothly as well as your blood flowing like a river instead of chugging like a tugboat. The best thing about it, especially for women, is that you can eat the little bones. And well, eating the bones = is good for your bones. This of course is good for everyones bones, not just women, even men need to keep an eye on that. You need to watch it with sardines a little, don't go eating them every day, or you'll end up with a mucus overload - but many times a week is perfectly fine. If you have rheumatism, go for mackerel. If you have pain, go for herring (but avoid it if you have acne or a rash, according to P. Pitchford). From the Western Nutrition point of view, sardines are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and low in mercury, a perfect combination if there ever was one given the importance of Omega 3's but the unfortunate fact that many fish are now contaminated with high levels of mercury. Sardines are also rich in vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin D (in the skin), and niacin.

I also like that it is a simple meal when you don't have a lot of time to marinate, chop, slice, sear, and sit. You can pop open the sacrilegious tin and slide those puppies out on a plate, serve with some rice, with pasta, on bread, on lettuce, or however which way you please. I love sardines mashed up with Greek yogurt, lemon, sea salt, and shallots, placed on toast. I recently ate them a la Thai with some rice and some pla tu paste. Squeezed a bit of lime on them, squirted some nam pla (fish sauce) on the rice and I was happily and healthily fed. If I can get any of these lovely little fish fresh, then I do, every single time I find them. I remember the times I've caught little fish while...fishing, and while often they're used as bait - there is no way I'm sharing these with some big lumpy large fish much to my fellow fisherperson's chagrin.

Even the cat was eyeing my sardine glory.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat little fish:

Sardine Sandwhich

1 can sardines
sea salt
greek yogurt
crusty wholegrain bread

1. Mash them up with aforementioned lemon, sea salt, greek yogurt, and shallots and place on toasted wholegrain bread. It's that simple and it's that good.

Anchovy Pasta

1 can anchovies in olive oil
sweet thick soy sauce
fish sauce
some kind of sugar
Thai chiles
1 large onion (white or red it doesn't matter)
1/2 lb. pasta (spaghetti or shells or whatever you please)

1. Sautee moon slices of whole onion in the olive oil from the anchovy tin, do this until they caramelize on a low heat. Add the chiles (to taste - 2 or 3 is a good start).
2. Meanwhile cook the pasta, drain, and let sit.
3. Add pasta and anchovies to caramelized onions in pan, add a tbspn or more of sweet thick soy sauce, a tspn of sugar, a dash of fish sauce (anchovies are salty already), splash of lime (1/2 a lime is good if you like it sour), garnish with cilantro.
4. Eat

Fried Fresh Little Fish

fresh anchovies, sardines (the very little ones), or smelts if you're lucky
sea salt
lemon or lime

1. Coat fish with egg then flour, place in shallow frying pan with hot oil, lightly fry on both sides until golden brown, add lemon or lime and sprinkle with sea salt.
(Excellent appetizer for a party paired with a crisp white wine)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The fish recipes look delicious.