Garlicky Toasts with Sardines

One thing I learnt with food is that when you feel naughty, you'd better get really piggy the sooner the better. If your mind tells you to eat something super special and you stuff your tummy with soup or veggies, it will get really angry with you and make you crave this sacred naughtiness even more.

Sandwiches and toasts - are my "Achilles' heel". I actually believe that there are special cells in my blood that run through my body and constantly remind me of how much I love both. Just imagine your teeth diving into a crunchy, warm, buttery fried bread; then you feel the burst and the dripping of a sweet, sour or spicy sauce all over your chin and hands; and finally - fresh and squashy veggies. Why would someone even want to eat his beef steak or chicken curry with a knife and a fork, when you can just add these to your favorite sandwich and dissolve in a literally dirty sin?...

(Oh, dear. Luckily I already ate several toasts today before writing this post!)

But naughty does not necessarily mean unhealthy. Take sardines for examples. Both fresh and canned sardines are amazingly tasty and shockingly good for you. They are packed with heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acid, potassium, protein, calcium and iron. Canned sardines are also only 200 calories per 100g (3.5oz). So if you do not live on the side of the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans and it is not May-July, when the fish is especially fresh, then this recipe with canned sardines is for you (and me).

Garlicky Toasts Recipe

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 3 people (9 toasts)

Ingredients for the toasts:

9 toasts of any brown bread, that you like

2 cloves of garlic

30-40 gr. of butter

Ingredients for spreads:

Preparing the toasts:

1. Start with the spreads. Take three cups and place all the ingredients as per the table above into each of the cups, respectively. Then blend each of the ingredients until they turn into a soft puree. Add more sweet paprika, black peppers and freshly chopped chives on top.

2. For the toasts: warm up the frying pan, put half of the butter (if you can fit all 9 toasts into your pan) and squeezed or finely chopped garlic cloves. Let the garlic get slightly yellow and add the toasts. (Make sure, that the pan is not too hot and your garlic will not burn quickly, spread the garlic well around the pan before putting the toasts on top.) Let the toasts simmer in butter for 2-3 minutes, then turn and add the remaining butter.

3. Once the bread absorbed the butter, increase the heat and let it fry well on both sides for 1-2 minutes. Let the edges of the bread get crispy, but keep an eye on the garlic not to let it burn.

Garlic: I cannot imagine my life without garlic, but many people do not like waking up on the next day, feeling as if garlic was growing in their mouth. To avoid that: cut the garlic into two halves and take out the inside sprout, which is the reason of the strong smell. It is easily spotted and has a light green or yellowish colour.

The naughtiness is ready. Put lots of spreads on the hot toasts, add sardines. My favourite spread is the one with artichokes, dried tomatoes and paprika because it is so Iberian. Avocado with cream cheese is very refreshing on a hot summer day (squeezed lemon on top would be nice too). Finally, beetroot is sweet and spicy at the same time, it is also very nostalgic for me.

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