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I recently tried to do more with small canned fish. Despite the stigma, they're cheap and healthy and underutilized--what's not to love?

More than 3 hours later, I was mortified to find out that I was still burping up an ungodly fish smell. Clearly, this was not about oral hygiene, but rather the chemistry of the fish in my gut.

Suffice it to say, I would not want to put anyone else though this. Are there any ways to somewhat neutralize the bad breath with a cooking technique or food pairing?

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How do you usually eat them? Straight out of the can? If not, how do you prepare them? – ESultanik Apr 7 '11 at 16:37
@ESultanik I usually drained and tossed them with vinegar or lemon juice. But now I am remembering that I didn't wait very long, so maybe that would have helped. – Matt Broerman Apr 7 '11 at 17:35
Adding some chopped fresh parsley to your sardines will help neutralise bad breath as well. – KimbaF Apr 7 '11 at 17:39

My favorite way of preparing canned sardines, which hasn't yet caused me "fish burp", is:

  1. Boil some whole yukon gold potatoes in heavily salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette with red wine vinegar and the oil of the canned sardines (assuming they were packed in oil). I prefer to make the vinaigrette quite acidic.
  3. Toss with parsley and fine julienned shallot and season to taste.
  4. Plate the potatoes smash them into an even layer.
  5. Put the sardines over the potatoes.
  6. Cover with the parsley salad.
  7. Optional: Cover with sriracha to taste.

If there is any credence to the belief that lemon juice will cover up the bad breath, you could alternatively use that instead of the vinegar in the dressing. Furthermore, the acid from the vinaigrette will help cut through the fattiness of the fish. Finally, the potatoes will help "dilute" the fishy contents in your gut.

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The parsley may also help with breath, as it is a traditional breath freshener. – Martha F. Apr 10 '11 at 20:55
@Martha, you are correct, as @KimbaF mentioned above (I forgot to add that part when I was writing it)! – ESultanik Apr 10 '11 at 22:58

Put drops of lemon over the sardines to avoid that smell.

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