Sardines have moved on from their days as an unwelcome, oily tinned fish to a delicious fresh ingredient that's popping up on menus across the country. What's the appeal? Sardines are sustainable and extremely healthy—they're jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. Grilling? Try fresh sardines. Thanks to their oily flesh, they won't overcook as easily as more delicate white fish. Short on time? Pan fry or broil sardines in a few minutes and serve them with a light salad. From hearty mains like traditional Galician fried sardines to inspired appetizers like balsamic-drizzled sardines on toast, Food & Wine's guide to sardines shows off many ways to use this fish.

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Whole Sardines with Parsley
Inspired by the southern Italian dish sarde arraganate, this quick dish from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project uses fresh parsley and is slightly tangy from the red wine vinegar. Whether you’re using sardines or even whole anchovies, look for incredibly fresh fish that have clear eyes and smell like the sea. Slideshow: More Sardine Recipes 
These inventive recipes include roasted sardines with olives, capers and parsley and crunchy sardine toasts.