03 September, 2014

Fishy Delights 51: Look's Atlantic Premium Smoked Sardine Fillets

Man, I loves me some canned sardines, as you can probably tell by looking at how many different brands I've reviewed over the years. I often take a can to work for lunch - they're easy to eat, wicked good for you, and they have a side benefit of making my office smell fishy until the trash is emptied (I derive amusement from the annoyance of the next shift.)

These smoked sardine fillets are a bit of a departure for me, since I usually go for the smaller cans of "whole" fish. And, as you might expect, not only the flavor but the texture of these little morsels are very different than whole canned sardines.

I've had many smoked sardines before. It's very common for a label to note that the fish are "lightly smoked." Sometimes - as with the Galleon brand sardines I recently reviewed - the smoke flavor is of the utmost subtlety, almost a whisper. Other times the smoke flavor is more distinct, though still gentle. Not, however, with these fillets. The smoke flavor is strong and assertive (though not as strong as with, say, Blind Robin smoked herring,) and the fish tends to fall apart and be a bit on the dry side. I think that this is because the fish are simply packed in the cans with a bit of salt - no added water or oil - and the resulting liquid in the can is released from the fishies when they cook during processing.

Like all the sardines I eat, I enjoyed these just the way they were, straight out of the can. But if you were to flake the fish with a fork and mix it well with some cream cheese and some finely chopped capers, and then season it with a bit of salt, some good hot Hungarian or Spanish paprika, and just the slightest dash of allspice, you'd have a pretty damn good cracker spread.

In New England, you can usually find Look's products at Ocean State Job Lot stores.

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