Sardine, Avocado and Radish Salad with Upland Cress

September  8, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I was a kid in grade school the first time I saw fish in a can, and no it wasn't tuna, it was sardines. I had a seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Agulara, who would make sardine sandwiches. To me they were mysterious and from another land. He would pop open an oval shaped can of sardines bathed in tomato. Then he would thinly slice an onion and put it all onto a crusty loaf of French bread and would slather it with mustard. Finally, he would smash it like you would a Cubano and you could hear the bread crackle as he applied the pressure with the palms of his hands. I have been a fan of fish in a can ever since. I would like to eat this dish someday on the Bay of Biscay coast of France, languidly eating lunch and drinking a nice bottle of crisp white wine and smelling the ocean breeze. - thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

The interplay of the sardines, radishes, avocados and cress worked very nicely together. This was especially apparent with the fleshy texture of the sardines and the smooth buttery-ness of the avocado to which the radish gave a sharp contrast. The radishes didn't have a starring role in this dish (seemingly coming in second to the sardines), but overall an excellent recipe and one we will definitely use in the future. – Adamnsvetcooking —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 to 2 tins, depending on how many you want on each salad of two layer brisling sardines in olive oil, drained
  • 2 avocados, split, pit removed and sliced into rounds
  • 4 large radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh chives, cut into batons
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley
  • 1 or 2 lemons
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of upland or water cress
  1. Carefully remove the sardines with a fork from the can. The idea is to keep them whole. Place then into a shallow flat container and squeeze the juice half a lemon over them. Sprinkle them with half the parsley and 1 teaspoon of chives. Season them with a pinch of pepper and salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes.
  2. While they are sitting attractively place the avocado into bowls. Now place 4 to 6 sardines into each bowl and then scatter the radishes over the top. Tuck in small bunches of cress. Garnish with remaining chives and parsley. Dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and some more olive oil. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and serve.
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  • jkholder
  • lastnightsdinner
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11 Reviews

carswell September 11, 2013
I loved sardines as a kid - there were always canned ones in the kitchen when I was growing up. I had fresh sardines for the first time a few years ago when I was in Spain - they were sublime done on the grill with a splash of lemon juice. Sadly, I just can't get them fresh around here.

I've got a couple of cans of sardines languishing in my pantry - and some arugula in the fridge. This salad looks delicious.
haapi August 16, 2013
I made this with arugula, which worked beautifully. Also, I subbed out vinegar for the lemon juice (apple cider on the sardines and balsamic on the salad). The salad was outstanding, but I cannot wait to try it again with some lemon juice.
JazzyThyme June 29, 2012
This has become one of my favorite salads. Odd, considering that for years I hated sardines. I don't always use cress - sometimes I'll use a lettuce & am thinking of trying endive with it. Just delicious!
jkholder December 8, 2011
i made this last night...my husband thinks i'm a genius. so simple, so fresh, so right. thanks!
lastnightsdinner September 14, 2010
Perfect. I'm a huge fan of tinned fish, always looking for variations on my usual preparations, and this looks wonderful - a great mix of bright flavor and crunch to go with those fabulous oily fish. Love it.
pierino September 12, 2010
Mr. T, First on the sardine topic, there's a new business in Monterey, CA (new as in a year ago) called Cannery Row Sardine Co.,. the work of great young entrepreneurial mind, as in selling sardines on Cannery Row in Monterey. Sardines are migratory; they follow the food chain and the thermoclimes. His are tinned in olive oil. A case of four tins will cost you about $25.
Boquerones? You are preaching to the choir. This is the anchovy that converts anchovy haters (especially if you don't first tell them what they are eating). The white anchovies are packed in vinegar and need to be kept refrigerated so keep that in mind. Are you dipping for smelt back there this time of year? ;-)
bistro_gal September 12, 2010
The best sardines I have found are the skinless and boneless one from Portugal sold by Vital Choice (www.vitalchoice.com) www.latienda.com typically carries white anchovies, but of course shipping charges are high. Boquerones with crusty bread - mmmmm!
bistro_gal September 12, 2010
I have a love hate relationship with sardines. I know they are incredibly healthy, but I often find they overpower all other ingredients in a dish. I was thrilled to discover that keeping them at room temperature for 15 minutes sprinkled with lemon, parsley and chives mellowed their fishy taste somewhat. We had this salad for lunch today and we loved the combination of sardines, smooth avocado, crunchy radishes and fresh cress. A winner and definitely something I will make again. Thank you for another wonderful (not to mention guilt free and easy to make!!) recipe.
thirschfeld September 12, 2010
Thanks bistro gal. It is one of my favorite lunch salads also.
pierino September 9, 2010
Let me know when you need the canned sardine hook-up man, I know someone.
thirschfeld September 12, 2010
what kind of sardines? I am also on the look out for some Spanish white anchovies.