The Recipe ReDux: Watercress Sardine Tea Sandwiches

Watercress sardine tea sandwiches |

While I adore both foods featured in this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: “Sea What You’ve Been Missing with Seaweed and Little Fishes,” I feel obligated to encourage our readers to stock canned sardines as a pantry staple. I do. And they make for delicious dinners even faster than tuna. This is because one of my kids doesn’t care for canned tuna – so I have to think rather long and hard in order to create a dish she will eat; but she will eat sardines. Sardines flake into a smaller ‘grain’ than tuna and so are easier for young children to chew; good-quality sardines (like King Oscar) are (surprisingly) more mild tasting than most tuna. They are so mild, in fact, I could even drink a cup of tea with these Watercress and Sardine Tea Sandwiches.

A few other tips for softening the ‘fishy’ flavor of canned sardines:

Add dairy: Greek or regular lowfat yogurt slightly coats your tongue making the fish flavor less forward.

Add lemon juice: The acid also slightly disguises the fish flavor – but also helps make all the flavors in a dish meld and sing together.

Add sweet onions: Chives, sweet onions or red onions are a fresh pairing for canned fish.

Add another strong flavor: If you think the fish still needs a little disguise, add bold dark greens like kale to a pasta dish with sardines; or add watercress or arugula to a sardine sandwich. (I chose watercress here because it’s one of the few green things that has popped up in my garden.)

Serve sardine sandwiches on hearty bread or crackers: Our Scandinavian friends typically eat sardines on dark whole grain breads or crisp crackers. Take a clue from them – and serve a bold cracker that stands up to the flavor of the fish.

Shop around: If you don’t care for one brand of sardines, try another. I like King Oscar, but Brunswick is also good. Imported canned sardines from Spain (like Goya) or Mexico tend to be stronger in flavor. Try different flavors like sardines in tomato sauce, in chipotle or wasabi; taste the difference of sardines packed in oil or packed in water.

Watercress sardine tea sandwiches |

The Recipe ReDux: Watercress Sardine Tea Sandwiches

Makes 8 small tea sandwiches


  • 1 can (3.75 oz) sardines, drained (I used King Oscar Sardines in Olive Oil)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 2% Plain)
  • 1/2 cup watercress, finely chopped
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
  • 4 slices of sandwich bread, crusts removed


  1. In a bowl, flake sardines with a fork (removing end of tails if desired.) Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Divide filling between 2 slices of bread; top with remaining 2 slices and cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.

Sardine Tins

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  1. I “said” I didn’t care for sardine salad, but maybe I was just using the wrong brand? I tried a variety from Spain… quite strong. I really must try King Oscar now.

    Loved this month’s theme. So great to get out of our cooking comfort zone 😉

  2. I love your new blog look!!!! And any recipe that contains sardines. I’m hooked! Hahah get it? 😉

  3. These look so great, what a perfect appetizer! I’m always looking for apps for Sunday dinner at my mom’s…will have to make this in her honor…she LOVES her sardines!

  4. Thanks for all the tips on ways to help mask the strong flavor of sardines. I have to admit I’m not a big fan but I’m trying to find ways to enjoy them. I, too, need to try different brands and varieties.

  5. now that’s a yummy sandwich! I mix Greek Yogurt with tuna usually to make tuna salad. Now I can try your recipe with the extra sardines cans I bought!

  6. I love all your tips for serving sardines, and these sandwiches sounds delicious! I loved sardines as a kid too, although I have not convinced my kids to try them yet. I keep tins in the pantry as well, which come in hand for an afternoon snack of sardines, and goat cheese on crackers, OR, as a snack for the kitty when we run out of cat food :-) Happy ReDux!

    • LOVE the goat cheese and sardines tip! Never tried that…I certainly will!! Bet the 2 bold flavors are delicious!

  7. Those sandwiches look fancy and delicious. I want company to come over so I can make them!

  8. Oh they look beautiful and appetizing! Would love to have some right now!:)

  9. This is such an informative post on sardines! I really, REALLY tried to get some for this month’s redux, and even went so far as to look at the fresh smelts (or were they sardines??) but I chickened out! I like your explanation of how the flavors of the ingredients work together, because the only sardines I knew were in tomato sauce and my dad ate them on hot rice! I am now convinced that sardines can be delicious, and pretty! Thanks for posting this, you have changed the way I ‘sea’ sardines! 😉

  10. These look great!
    I love these tips too! I definitely have to ease myself into trying out all these “little fishies”. 😉

  11. Ooooh you have had a refresh and doesn’t it look purty! Love the redesign girls. Excellent tips on sardine eating. And excellent brand choice. We always stock King Oscar as that’s Master 7’s name!

  12. This are great recommendations on how to pair other foods with sardines. I, especially, love the pairing of sardines with crackers. Still haven’t tried greek yogurt, but I will now !


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