This recipe for sardine cakes was inspired by various fish cake recipes I have made over the years.
Eat more sardines
Let’s face it, for most people sardines are an acquired taste. They can have a pretty strong fishy flavor. Yet, not only are they good for you, but they are one of the most sustainable fish to eat. They are small and plentiful, caught in the wild, and have the lowest level of mercury of any fish. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium, they are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D. And… they are cheap!
Spice them up
And so, I have been looking for ways to incorporate sardines into my diet that would make them more palatable.
Enter: spices and herbs! Lots of them. I settled on a Cajun spice mix that I use in my world-famous turkey and black bean chili recipe, or as a blackening spice for fish or chicken. It has cayenne pepper in it which gives it quite a kick .
For herbs, I used parsley, but you could thrown in cilantro, thyme, chives, or any herb you like.
As an option, you can add some chopped onion, red onion or scallions as well!
What sardines to buy
You can find canned sardines packed in water, olive oil, with chili pepper, or tomato sauce. Any of these will work in this recipe. When buying them, read the label to verify the ingredients are natural. Also watch the sodium content. In this recipe, I used water packed sardines, and the result was excellent. If you use oil packed sardines, they will be a bit higher in calories, but it’s still healthy fat.
Another great thing about this recipe is it requires no special equipment and minimal clean-up!
All you need is 2 bowls, a fork, a spoon, a baking sheet and some aluminum foil. Well, also an oven mitt so you don’t burn yourself… Oh, and a citrus grater for the lemon zest! Oh, and a spatula to handle the cakes! Sorry, nothing is ever as simple as I’d like it to be 😉
- First, mix all the sardine cakes ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. Let that rest in the refrigerator while you make the sauce. This will allow the breadcrumbs to absorb some moisture and soften up.
- Next, mix the sauce ingredients in another bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I insist here: either use aluminum foil or do not line your baking sheet, but by all means DO NOT use parchment paper. Paper will burn under the broiler. Yeah, I’ve done it… that’s how you learn… Spray a bit of olive oil on the sheet to prevent the cakes from sticking.
- Take the mix out of the refrigerator. Form little balls with a tablespoon, place them as you go on the sheet. Flatten them lightly to about 1/2″ thickness. I use a one tablespoon cookie scoop, which produces mini-size cakes, as I find them easier to flip over than larger ones that can break. Give another quick spray of olive oil on top.
- Finally, place a rack in the upper third of your oven (about 6″ from the broiler) and preheat your broiler for 5 minutes. Place the sheetpan under the broiler and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the cakes over carefully. Place them back under the broiler for 5 more minutes until they are nicely browned.
How to eat these sardine cakes
These sardine cakes are good right out of the oven, at room temperature, or even cold… Leftovers could be stuffed in a pita bread or in a sandwich for example.
More delicious recipes to try:
Sardine cakes with spicy yogurt sauce
- To make the cakes: mix all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
- Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until use.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (do not use parchment since this recipe uses the broiler and your paper will burn). Spray sheet lightly with olive oil.
- Use a 1 tbsp cookie scoop (or measuring spoon) and scoop the fish cake mix into small balls. Place them on the baking sheet and flatten them slightly to about 1/2" thick. You should end up with about 20 patties.
- Spray a little more olive oil on top of the patties.
- Place an oven rack in the top 3rd of the oven (or about 6" from the broiler). Preheat your broiler for 5 minutes, then place the baking sheet under the broiler. Broil 5 minutes, remove from the oven and flip each patty carefully. Broil 5 more minutes, until cakes are slightly browned.
- Serve warm with the sauce.