Let’s hear it for sustainable seafood! Ned Bell is also the founder of Chefs for Oceans, a not-for-profit organization that spreads awareness of overfishing and sustainable catching methods. His new cookbook, Lure, is an in-depth guide to keeping it fresh, safe and responsible. If you’ve never enjoyed the pleasure of sardines on toast, your bagel and lox is about to face some stiff competition. 

A staple in Mediterranean Europe and Britain, sardines on toast has never quite taken hold here in North America. I’d like to change that. Sardines are an exceptional source of vitamin B12 — essential to our brain health, nervous system, and the production of red blood cells — and vitamin D, which we need for healthy bones. For the most tender results, brine these pretty little fish for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours before cooking.

Chef’s Note: You can ask your fishmonger to butterfly the sardines for you, but it’s simple to do yourself. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp, thin knife to cut off the head, just behind the gills and front fin. You can cut off the tail or leave it on. Carefully, so as not to tear the delicate meat, cut or slice along the belly to open it up. Scrape out the innards. Turn the fish belly-side down and gently press on the backbone, which will help loosen it from the flesh. Turn it over and carefully pull the backbone away from the flesh. If you’ve left the tail on, just snip it where the backbone meets the tail to free it. The sardines may be eaten simply brined or broiled.

Reprinted with permission from Lure