Sardines, also called pilchards, are a group of small oily fish common in oceans across the world.
Sardines are small, silvery, oily fish. They have a fishy, umami flavor similar to anchovies, although this varies according to how the sardines are prepared. They can be used fresh, dried, or otherwise preserved and canned. Canned sardines are typically cooked by frying or boiling before canning in oil, water, various sauces. Fresh sardines should be eaten as soon as possible.
Sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because they are low down in the food chain, sardines have relatively low mercury levels compared to other edible fish.
Because sardines are common around the world, they feature in a variety of cuisines. Fresh sardines are often grilled or stewed. Tinned sardines can top pizza and salads, and they can also be stirred into stews and pastas to add umami and depth of flavor. Sardines can also be processed to extract sardine oil.
Stargazy pie is a British pastry containing sardines, potatoes, and eggs. Scandinavian countries often smoke sardines, and southern European countries may pack them in oil or tomato sauce.
In the Philippines, sardines may be cooked in tomato sauce to make ginisang sardinas or fried and dipped in vinegar. In India, fresh sardines are sometimes included in stews and curries.