There are many foods out there that are notorious for being the arch nemesis to any kid. There are the usual suspects being broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas and spinach; basically anything green.But for me, there were three things that I just could not stand as a young child. Those three things were anchovies, sardines, and canned tuna. These foods were the bane of my existence.
I was never really a picky eater. I’d eat all my vegetables like my mother would tell me, but for some reason, anchovies, sardines, and canned tuna had always scared the bejeezus out of me. I think anchovies got a bad rep for me because of all the poor advertisement I was exposed to by fellow kids and TV shows that would express the wrongness of ruining a perfectly good pizza by adding anchovies. As a kid, all you can think about is, “how can you ruin a pizza?! Pizza is the greatest!”
With sardines and tuna, i had my parents to blame. My mom has always been the best cook I know and always made the tastiest dinners. But occasionally, I would know when to skip out on dinner by the smell that would fill up my house whenever she prepared canned sardines and tuna casserole. YUCK. Sorry Mom, hate to put you on blast on the internet, but your sardines and tuna you made for dinner was terrible. I still love you though!
As I grew into the stunning young adult that I am now today, (yeah, right… who am I kidding? =] ) my taste bud has changed as well as my outlook on food. I became more open to new and unfamiliar things. But for some reason, trying to let anchovies, sardines, and canned tuna back in my life was a pretty difficult thing for me! This all changed when I started at the Harvest Vine.
The moment that I saw the anchovies that we were serving at our restaurant, I knew that they were something special. My mouth actually started watering to the look and smell of these spanish anchovies called boquerones. As i used them more and more, I had a new found love and appreciation for these anchovies. Every time I would open a package I can just imagine little old Spanish ladies carefully filleting each anchovie and then vinegar-curing them to perfection, then meticulously weaved together to make anchovies look like a piece of art.
I remember my first experience eating a fresh sardine. It was just simply grilled to perfection and served with Alioli (garlic mayonnaise) and lemon wedges. I’ve never had anything like it. It wasn’t reminicent of the terrible canned sardines with tomato my mother use to try to feed me. It was a fresh, meaty, super flavorful sardine that makes me want to go back in time and slap my past self in the face because it was that damn good. We also house-cure our own sardines in the same way that the boquerones are cured in vinegar.
There isn’t any canned tuna like Ortiz Bonito del Norte Tuna from Spain. This is the tuna we use at work for Ensalada Rusa (Russian Salad), which is essentially a Tuna salad with alioli, potatoes, carrots, and hard boiled egg. I’ve had many, many tuna salads made with the “chicken of the sea” in my day and they don’t live up to the standards of the almighty Ensalada Rusa. This tuna comes packed in a can covered with olive oil and it has such a mild flavor with an amazing buttery texture yet is very firm and dense. It’s so amazing!