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|Sardines at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.|
Seafood is a crucial part of my non-meat diet and those plump, little sardines are one of my favorites -- as part of a breakfast sandwich with hummus, cheese, lettuce and tomato, or with spaghetti and red sauce.
For the past two or three years, I have been buying Moroccan sardines at Fattal's Syrian Bakery in Paterson, where the price of 99 cents a can is lower than at Corrado's, Costco, ShopRite or any other North Jersey store I know. Of course, if you insist on skinless and boneless, you'll pay more.
Today, I drove to Paterson to replenish my supply and found that while the price remains at 99 cents, Fattal's now carries both Moroccan and Thai sardines. I bought 15 cans -- 10 from Morocco and five from Thailand. I also picked up Fattal's small spinach pies, canned hummus from Lebanon, canned large fava beans, string cheese and a yogurt drink.
For dinner, I emptied four cans of Thai sardines, including their spicy oil or hot tomato sauce, into a covered pan large enough to hold a pound of spaghetti, and broke up the fish with a wooden spoon. I added about half of a bottle of arrabbiata sauce from Modena, Italy (red like a Ferrari), dried Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, black pepper and dried and powdered garlic, and heated it over a medium flame.
Meanwhile, I heated water for thick spaghetti, and when it started to boil, I blanched two heads of fresh spinach in two batches, transferring it into another pan with hot olive oil. Then the pasta went into the same water, while I seasoned the spinach, covered it and turned off the heat.
When the pasta was cooked, I drained it and dumped it into the pan with the sauce and sardines, mixed it well and served it with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Italian red table wine and the spinach. Mangia bene.
Fattal's Bakery, 975-77 Main St., Paterson; 973-742-7125.
Open seven days, free parking in lot.