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I tend to experiment wildly with food, rather than sticking to recipes — and to do so, I need to understand the flavor and texture of the ingredients. So, early in our experimentation with sardines, I decided to try 'em the old-fashioned way: on crackers.
What I enjoyed most — though it's certainly not for the culinarily non-adventurous — was to take a stoned wheat cracker, squeeze a line of sriracha (rooster) sauce on it, then place a sprat (a near cousin of the sardine, canned whole except for the head) on top.
I just stumbled across a Serious Eats article from a couple years ago, wherein Nick Kindelsperger posted a James Beard-inspired recipe for Deviled Sardines. Some of the comments include suggestions which sound even better: