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Avocado and Sardine Toasts and a giveaway

OK, now for those of you who say you don’t like canned sardines, don’t tune me out yet. Because maybe you’ve never eaten canned sardines as good as these. They’re called pilchards in England (just another name for a large sardine) and come from the Cornwall region.  These, from The Pilchard Works, are caught off the shores of Cornwall and are hand-packed and canned in the traditional way in partnership with the oldest sardine cannery in Brittany, France. The lids of the tins are works of art, with reproductions of paintings by Newlyn School painters, Walter Langley and Frank Bramley.

I brought some home with me from my trip to Cornwall last fall, and was surprised at how much better they were than the ones I buy in the supermarkets here. So much so, that I asked my ex-pat daughter to bring some tins for me on her recent business trip from London to New York.

I am a big fan of fresh sardines and anchovies but it’s not easy to find them fresh here in the states. Canned sardines were always in our pantry when I was growing up and my 96 year-old father, who is still in good health, eats them in sandwiches regularly.

Not only do they taste delicious, they’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re packed with nutrients that are good for you, including vitamin D, B12 and protein. They also contain one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, and they help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

I’m hoping that those of you who have turned up your nose at eating sardines in the past will give these a try. All you have to do to receive a tin of these from me, is to leave a comment stating why you like sardines and how you eat them. If you don’t like them (maybe especially if you don’t like them),  I’ll send you a tin too, because I’d really love to convert you to becoming a sardine aficionado.  Just leave a way for me to contact you.

This recipe from Paula Wolfert, really is a delicious blending of flavors that I would never have thought to put together, but I will be making again and again. Even my husband, who rarely eats either avocado or canned sardines, raved about the combination. I hope you’ll try it too.

Avocado and Sardine Toasts
 
Author:
 
From the Book "Unforgettable" by Emily Kaiser Thelin
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 scant tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 (4½ ounce) cans whole sardines (I used one can)
  • 1 large firm, ripe Hass avocado
  • 4 to 6 thin slices country-style bread (I used 3 slices)
  • 4 green onions (I used one), white and green parts, cut into very thin slices
  • fresh chives, snipped
Instructions
  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parsley and vinegar.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Divide the sardines into fillets and discard any bones.
  4. Add the sardines to the vinaigrette and marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Cut the avocado in half and peel away the skin.
  6. Put it on a cutting board and cut the avocado into thin slices.
  7. Toast or grill the bread.
  8. Lightly brush the top side of each toast with the vinaigrette.
  9. Divide the avocado slices among the toasts, top with a portion of the sardines, and scatter green onions and chives on top.
  10. Serve at once.
 

Corn, Avocado And Radish Salad

Corn, Avocado and Radish Salad

 If your weather has been anywhere near as hot as what we’ve had in New Jersey this past week, turning on the oven to prepare dinner is about as appealing as donning a ski parka in a sauna.

Naturally, cold dishes like salads come to the rescue when the temperatures are too hot to cook, but not just any old “lettuce-and-tomato” cold salads.
I was inspired to make this after seeing something similar online from Helena, who goes by the handle @brat_h_ on Instagram.
Helena used grilled corn, and I heartily endorse that approach, although I had a leftover ear of boiled, but delicious, Jersey corn needing a home.
I added and deleted a few things from her dish, based on what I had on hand. One thing I didn’t have was the chipotle powder she used, so I mixed a little paprika and cayenne together. I also subbed fresh oregano for the cilantro, since my husband isn’t a cilantro fan, and we’ve got plenty of oregano flourishing in the garden. As you can tell, you can make the salad your own depending on what’s available to you.
Scatter all the ingredients across a bed of mixed lettuces that have been seasoned with your favorite vinaigrette.
Then drizzle on some of the dressing and decorate with the red currants, if you can find them.
If not, try to find some tiny red cherry or grape tomatoes to give the dish a really festive look.

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.

 

Corn, Avocado and Radish Salad 
Ingredients for salad:
1 ear of corn, boiled or roasted, removed from the cob
 1 ripe avocado, sliced
2 red radishes, sliced thinly
1/2 green pepper, sliced thinly
red onion, sliced thinly
fresh red currants (if you can find them)
mixed lettuces, dressed lightly with your favorite salad dressing (I like to use extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, a little honey, a little Dijon mustard, plus salt and pepper.)
Creamy Dressing:
1/3 cup mayonaaise
1/2 cup sour cream
grated zest from 1 lime
juice from 1/2 lime
a sprig or two of fresh oregano leaves, minced
1/4 tsp. paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
salt, pepper
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a jar.
Toss the lettuces with a light amount of the oil and vinegar dressing (the creamy dressing will add another layer, so you don’t want to overdo it on the oil and vinegar dressing). Arrange the lettuces on a platter, then place the rest of the ingredients on top of the lettuce, in an “artful” way.
Drizzle dabs of the creamy dressing on top.
Avocado-Beet-Blood Orange Salad

Avocado-Beet-Blood Orange Salad

 It’s that short period of time when blood oranges are in season and I can’t get enough of this beautiful citrus fruit. Of course, you can squeeze it and have yourself a perfectly delicious glass of sweet juice, but I love to use it in savory recipes too. When arranged on a plate with some chioggia beets, avocado and radishes, it makes a colorful, flavorful and healthy salad – just the right thing after all that holiday indulgence.

I topped it off with a few pistachios and bits of parsley and baby arugula to add even more texture and color.  It’s not necessary, but if you’ve got an olive oil that’s infused with blood orange, so much the better for the dressing. I live near a store that sells many varieties of flavored olive oils but if you don’t, you can order some online here. You’ll be surprised at how much extra oomph it can impart to a salad.

 

Avocado-Beet-Blood Orange Salad
for two servings
two large beets – I used chioggia since red beets wouldn’t have provided enough contrast with red oranges
1 avocado
2 radishes
2 blood oranges
2 T. of pistachios
baby arugula
parsley leaves
Dressing:
1/4 cup blood orange flavored olive oil or a little more
1/8 cup white balsamic or sherry vinegar
salt, pepper
1/8 t. honey
1/8 t. of Dijon mustard
Scrub the beets, coat with olive oil and roast in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Cool, peel and slice into rounds.
Peel the avocado and slice.
Wash and slice the radishes.
Peel the blood oranges and slice into discs.
Arrange the vegetables and blood oranges on a plate, then tuck in some arugula leaves and parsley leaves here and there. Drizzle the dressing on top, then scatter the pistachios over everything.
Avocado And Pomegranate Salad

Avocado and Pomegranate Salad

There’s a line in Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well,” in which one of the characters says: “Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel out of a pomegranate.”

For this recipe, which requires dozens of pomegranate seeds, there’s no worry about being beaten in Italy. There’s only the time-consuming task of removing those seeds from those pesky, pulpy membranes. The rest of the recipe is a snap.

What you’ll end up with is a healthy and unusual salad that’s colorful as a Christmas wreath and delicious too. It requires only two ingredients – avocados and pomegranates, plus some olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing. It comes to you via my friend Anna Rosa, who spends a lot of time in Italy, but has never once been beaten for plucking a seed from a pomegranate.

Here’s the recipe:

Peel two avocados and cube. Mix in a bowl with seeds from one pomegranate. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice to taste.