At the beginning of the year, it seemed that all anyone in the blogosphere could talk about was Alton Brown and how much weight he has lost. On a recent episode of Good Eats, he addressed the issue and spoke about how he accomplished losing fifty pounds. Whether or not you believe that he was overweight before or that he is too skinny now is a matter of opinion. I, for one, applaud him for taking his health into his own hands. Eating healthy is difficult, especially in a world of quick, cheap, sugary, and addictive foods. When I first came to this country seven years ago, food was my playground. Nothing was off limits. Everything that was advertised on cable television back then but was unavailable in that part of the world was now all I could eat. Or all that I wanted to eat. Taking control of what we eat is a herculean task in this country, and instead of being critical I think we should admire AB's discipline and resolve to become healthier.
AB highlighted three foods he incorporated into his diet in order to lose weight. Smoothies, sardine-avocado sandwiches , and almonds. Of the three, the idea of eating sardine sandwiches was most repugnant as evidenced by hundreds of comments on food websites and blogs.
Sardines are a greats source of omega-3 fatty acids which some studies have shown improve cardiovascular health. They are also high in vitamins D and B12, calcium, and protein. And since they are a small fish, they are low in mercury. (Remember, while most fish contain some level of methyl-mercury- the dangerous by-product of mercury in the environment- large fish such as tuna, swordfish and shark, contain higher levels of this toxin.)
In spite of all these benefits, some people just can't get past the overwhelming fishy taste and smell. Me, I enjoy the stuff but it's probably because I grew up eating it. And even before AB combined it with avocado on his show, such sandwiches were common in my kitchen; the smooth, subtle avocado flavor perfectly counters that distinctive sardine taste. I like to add some other vegetables to the mix though, like fresh tomatoes or bell peppers in the summer.
AB's recipe for Sherried Sardine Toast is here, and the photo above is my simple combination of sardines in olive oil, sliced avocados and red pepper flakes on sliced whole wheat baguette. But if the benefits of eating sardines still aren't enough to get you to try the stuff, that's easy to understand. I feel the same way about sauerkraut and jello.