2/3 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 4-oz cans boneless, smoked sardines in lemon olive oil
3/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
8-9 oz tagliatelle, cooked to package instructions
Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the capers, pepper flakes, and the whole cans of sardines*. Lightly break up the sardines with the back of the spoon and cook until heated though. Toss with hot pasta, then bread crumbs. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
*My sardines came with a tiny, super-thin slice of lemon, toss that in too.
Portugal is sardine crazy! It is on nearly every menu most often fresh grilled sardines and if not, there is often a dish where tinned sardines has been turned into something delicious. They take their canned seafood seriously; a store in Lisbon that sells nothing but canned sardines of every variety imaginable along with tinned octopus, tuna, mackeral and squid. We even went to two different canned fish themed restaurants; the very charming Can the Can and Sol e Pesca both in Lisbon. Needless to say, we stocked up on canned seafood before heading back to Baltimore. Luckily for you, most of what I found and what I used in this dish can be found at most supermarkets with a good canned fish section. Even not-so-big supermarkets had non-Portuguese versions of the sardines I’m using today but if you can’t find them, try looking at a store that carries a lot of international or speciality goods like a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh Market, Wegmans, etc. You’d be surprised by what they have!
This dish is one of my new favorites because you can make it for just a few dollars and almost entirely out of pantry ingredients. I always have the above on hand and I bet you do too! The flavor is surprisingly light an not “fishy”; the parsley adds a welcome herbal note. I used bright yellow eggy imported Italian noodles, I highly recommend using those for this dish, they have a wonderful texture. Tagliatelle was the noodle I saw on nearly every menu in Europe and I can see why. Try this dish with vino verde!