Ah, sardines… How unfairly Filipinos often treat you by giving you labels like “pang-mahirap” (for the poor) and “pagkain ng walang pera” (food for those with no money). Well, it is true that a can of sardines is relatively inexpensive especially when compared to canned meat of the same size. But the association with poverty have caused many superficial Filipinos to refuse to eat sardines lest they be labeled poor (even if they actually are).
I like sardines — the ones packed in spicy oil more than the kind with tomato sauce. And the only time I refused to eat sardines was in college when male friends decided to make pulutan (a dish to accompany alcoholic drinks) by sautéing sardines and turning it into a generic mush that looked more like a cardboard puree than anything else. Except for that single occasion, I have never shied away from sardines. In fact, I have a lot of recipes with sardines in the archive. My favorites?
Now I add a new favorite. This pizza-style open-faced sardine omelet was made from one of the many cans of sardines that Alex brought home from a trip to Zamboanga. My goodness, the sardines there are so much larger than what we get here in the grocery.
Why is it “pizza-style”? Because the omelet looks like a crust and the rest of the ingredients look like pizza toppings.
- 1 to 2 cans sardines (you'll need 5 to 6 fish) in tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 to 3 eggs lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- grated mozzarella as much or as little as you like
- sliced scallions
Open the can or cans of sardines and separate the fish from the sauce. Carefully cut each fish lengthwise into halves.
Heat the butter in a non-stick pan.
Saute the onion and garlic until fragrant and softened. Spread to cover as much of the bottom of the pan as you can.
Pour in the beaten eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the eggs are partially set, arrange the fish halves on top.
Sprinkle the mozzarella over the fish. Drizzle the reserved tomato sauce over the fish and cheese.
Cover the pan. Cook over low heat just until the eggs are fully set, the sardines are heated through and the cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with sliced scallions before serving.