Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recipe in Progress: Sardine Mousse with Indian-Spiced Eggplant Pancakes

I've been wanting to play with sardines. I discovered via Obesity Help that they are actually a great post-RNY food. For some reason - I guess because I associate them with my grease-lovin' late granddad - I assumed the canned version was terribly unhealthy.

I couldn't have been more off-base: 1 2-oz. serving of Wild Planet sardines canned in spring water is just 73 calories, 13 grams of protein, no carbs, and just 2 grams of super-healthy Omega-3 fat. In a word, stellar.

Plus, I recently read on Susan Maria Leach's blog that women often reap more benefits from food sources of calcium than from supplements. Sardines are a terrific source of calcium and Vitamin D, among other nutrients. But, to receive all of the benefit from eating sardines, you gotta eat the skin and the bones. [Cue the "ews"]. Susan Maria linked to her blog post on her Before and After Help message board, and both her and one of the moderators were hatin' on sardines.

Because I'd been wanting to try them again anyway, I took their disdain as a challenge. Last night, I made this:

My plating left much to be desired, but the flavors were amazing. The mousse itself is ridiculously easy to make. No heated cooking required!

However, this recipe isn't perfect. It's in progress. I think next time I will add some avocado, tofu, and/or fat-free cream cheese to stabilize the mousse a bit more and to raise the creamy factor. Fresh basil would probably be really good instead of the dried. I could also add some unflavored gelatin and mold it to make something really fancy. But I want to put the idea and flavors out there now, and I'll tweak it when I decide I want sardine mousse again.


What you need:
  • 2 oz. canned sardines in spring water, with skin and bones (I used Wild Planet wild sardines from The Fresh Market)
  • About 20 grams onion, lightly sauteed in nonstick spray to dull the raw flavor
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (if you don't have smoked paprika, try adding 2 tsp. Liquid Smoke and 1/2 tsp. regular paprika)
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tbsp. Splenda
  • 1/4 cup pasteurized egg whites, like All Whites [Note: even though they don't whip as well, you definitely need to use pasteurized whites because this is a no-cook dish].
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Food processor
  • Hand mixer
What to do:
  1. Place all ingredients except the egg whites and cream of tartar in your food processor. Puree until smooth.
  2. In a clean bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and whip to soft peaks using the hand mixer.
  3. Very, very carefully fold the sardine puree into the egg whites until well-combined. Voila! Keep chilled until ready to serve.

What you need:
  • About 20 grams yellow onion, diced (any kind of onion would work, but would add a slightly different flavor)
  • About 100 grams eggplant, diced small, skin-on
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Splenda (or 3 packets)
  • 1/4 cup pasteurized egg whites (like All Whites)
  • Nonstick spray
  • Parchment paper (optional)
  • Food processor (or you can finely dice the eggplant by hand)
What to do:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute the diced eggplant in nonstick spray over medium heat just until they are translucent. While the onions are sauteing, salt the eggplant and let the salt pull out some of the bitterness.
  3. Once the onions are soft and slightly browned, add in the eggplant. Stir in the garam masala, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and curry powder. Let it cook down until the flesh is softened and there's some "stuff" sticking to the bottom of the saute pan.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar (add water too if needed), and stir in the Splenda.
  5. Chop the eggplant mixture in the food processor. Don't puree; just chop finely. Put in a bowl. Stir in pasteurized egg whites to make pancake batter.
  6. Portion out the pancake mixture on a cookie sheet coated with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. (I made 4 pancakes). Bake in oven at 350 until cooked through and brown around the edges (about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven). Enjoy!
This entire dish, which I designed to make one serving, contains approximately 223 calories, 26.7 grams of protein, 17.1 NET grams of carbohydrate (not including any fiber grams), and 2.2 grams of fat. Note that these are very generous estimates, including calorie and macronutrient counts for all of the spices, the vinegar, and the Splenda.

The sardine mousse contains 138 calories, 19.4 grams of protein, 8.7 NET grams of carbohydrate, and 2.2 grams of fat.

The eggplant pancakes contain 85 calories, 7.3 grams of protein, 8.4 NET grams of carbohydrate, and 0 grams of fat.

You should be eating more sardines. In addition to the calcium, Omega-3 fats, and deliciousness, they are also one of the most "green" seafood choices. Read the labels for sodium content, but other than that, you can't go wrong with 'em.


  1. The Mousse sounds great!

    Welcome to the Society.

  2. Alton Brown did a show on his recent weight loss, and one of his standard foods is apparently a sort of avocado/sardine open-faced sandwich. Apparently it's quite good, maybe you could play around with some avocado combination?

  3. Thanks! Sardine + avocado sounds amazing. I wish I could just make his sandwich; too bad I try to stay away from bread.