Sardines are fished far out in the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean between March and April. They contain 165 calories per 100 g and are remarkably nutritious. Sardines are excellent for the heart thanks to their very high content in omega-3 fatty acids (3 to 6 grams for each 100 grams of fish). It is also rich in minerals and trace elements which are necessary for the proper functioning of bone tissue, particularly if the fishbones are consumed. Good to know! In the summer the sardine is even richer in omega-3 because it feeds on plankton, which is then abundant.

Nutritional information

Sardines are also important for mental wellbeing as they are an excellent source of vitamins B3 and B6 and magnesium, which regulate stress by strengthening nerve cells. 100 g of fresh sardines contains 360 mg of potassium, 28 mg of magnesium, 270 mg of phosphorus, 85 mg of calcium, 1.4 mg of iron, 0.2 mg of vitamin B2, 6 µg of vitamin B12, 8.2 mg of vitamin B3, 4 µg of vitamin B9, 275 IU (i.e 6.8 µg) of vitamin D.

Serving suggestions

Fresh sardine is delicious grilled whole a la plancha or on a barbecue, with a drizzle of olive oil and served with a potato salad. Pilchards are larger and may be baked in the oven, once the head and scales have been removed. For variety, sardines may be eaten raw, which will delight sashimi and tartare aficionados. Raw sardine, whether plain or marinaded, is best served with a green salad or a bowl of rice. Risotto recipes skilfully marry the flavours of sardine, lemon and parmesan. 

Traditional tinned sardines are just as tasty and there are even vintage ones! Tinned sardines are beneficial and readily available all year round. There are plenty of recipes that use tinned sardines, which are ideally packed in olive oil as this preserves their omega-3, calcium and vitamin content, even if it increases their calorific value. They can be eaten served with crudités, make an easily-prepared dish. On a slice of bread with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and served with white wine or vinho verde ("green wine" in Portuguese), they make an original appetizer imbued with Mediterranean flavours and will titillate your tastebuds. 

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