Though a sardine sandwich might not be the most obvious choice for lunch these days, the local history of sardines on California’s Central Coast may inspire you to create something delicious and satisfying with this oily, little fish.
Sardine sandwiches were once a popular menu item in the 70s, at the famed Nepenthe, just north on Highway 1. John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” captured the human stories of the Monterey canning industry, a multi-cultural manufacturing business which started in 1902 and expanded during World Wars I and II. In 1968, just six years after the founding of Esalen, the upscale Sardine Factory Restaurant opened on Cannery Row, officially starting Restaurant Row as we know it today.
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, sardines stay together as a way of life, moving together like synchronized swimmers as one in a single school.
Honoring Esalen’s place in and around the Pacific, we resurrect this recipe from the cookbook My Nepenthe, Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur.
Pair these marinated sardines with fresh, crusty grilled bread or a leafy, fresh green salad. And yes, if you want, lay them on a baguette with lettuce, sprouts, and a little aioli. Then, find yourself a nice view of the water.
Prep time 5 minutes (marinated, 2 hours minimum)
Makes 1-2 servings
Nepenthe shares a few favorite recipes on their website.