The adaptability of the sardine to a variety of preparations that are appetizing and delicious is not generally recognized by the housekeeper. The tiny fish may be used as the foundation of many nice, light dishes, and during the heated months form a pleasing variety upon the heavier lunch or supper dishes composed of meat. It is always well to open a box of sardines an hour or two before the contents are to be used. Drain the fish from the oil in which they are packed, as this is too rich to be digestible, and does not improve the flavor of the fish. In buying sardines, choose the more expensive quality rather than the cheap, so-called sardines, which are often only American minnows packed down in oil.
Toast crustless slices of graham bread and butter them. Put the drained sardines on a tin plate, squeeze over them a few drops of lemon juice and sprinkle with fine cracker crumbs. Set the plate in the oven and bake the fish for ten minutes. Transfer the sardines to the toast, and keep hot while you make the following sauce:
Strain a half-pint of liquor from a can of tomatoes and put it into a porcelain-lined saucepan to heat. Rub together a teaspoon-ful of butter and one of flour, stir these into the tomato liquor, and, as the sauce thickens, add a half-teaspoonful of onion juice and a teaspoonful of granulated sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Boil up once and pour over the sardines and toast.
Drain the sardines free from oil and lay them on a fine oyster-broiler. Broil over a clear fire for five minutes. Butter heated saltine wafers, and lay a sardine on each of these. Squeeze four drops of lemon juice and two drops of onion juice on each fish and send to the table very hot.
Cut thin bread into crescents or triangles. The crescent is the true canape shape. Toast the bread. Flake sardines fine with a fork; work into them a teaspoonful of melted butter, a teaspoonful of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and four or five drops of Tabasco sauce. Spread the toast first with butter, then with the sardine mixture, place on a tin plate, cover, and set in the oven until very hot.
Cut as many strips of bread as you have sardines, making each piece a little longer and broader than the fish. Toast or fry these. Roll your sardines in egg and then in fine cracker crumbs, and fry to a light brown. Lay a sardine on each strip of toast and garnish with lemon and parsley.
Boil six eggs hard and throw into cold water. Remove the shells and cut the eggs in halves, removing the yolks. Pound these yolks to a paste with a tablespoonful of salad oil, and work into this paste eight skinned and minced sardines. Now add a teaspoonful of lemon juice, and a saltspoonful, each, of salt, pepper and mustard. Form into balls, and fit these into the halved whites of the eggs, trimming off the bottoms of the whites so that they will stand on end. Serve garnished with water-cress, and with or without a mayonnaise dressing.