Saturday, December 29, 2012

Smoked Sardine Spread

(about 1/2 cup)

It's been years since I've eaten sardines. They were too much of a good thing while I was in college, I suppose. Back then they were incredibly cheap and very convenient to have around for snacking.

The last time I encountered them was almost two decades ago on a trip to Portugal to visit my mum. She had rented an apartment for the winter in Albufeira, I think it was. It had a tiny white kitchenette where my mum had filled one huge drawer with fresh oranges and another with sardines. It looked to me like she had at least 50 or 60 tins of the stuff. I couldn't help but chuckle as she excitedly explained how she had an orange or two for breakfast, then sardines for lunch and dinner with perhaps another orange, and how healthy it all was!

Recently I found myself in an isle at the grocery store checking out various tins of seafood and fish. I was surprised by how many varieties of canned sardines were available. Skinless and boneless, smoked, packed in water, in tomato sauce, in mustard, olive oil, or Mediterranean style with black olives. The selection had grown considerably since I was a student. Curious, I brought home several tins. A couple of lightly smoked sardines packed in olive oil, as well as a tin of skinless and boneless sardines.

This recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Sardine Rillettes, from Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, 2010). This relatively inexpensive and delicious sardine spread is great as an appetizer or a snack!

The following can be easily doubled or tripled, if desired.

1x  3 3/4oz tin of lightly smoked sardines packed in olive oil
2 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 tsp drained capers

Remove the sardines from the tin and drain. Carefully remove any bones, if desired. They are quite soft and will break up easily when mashed.  Set aside.

In a small bowl or the bowl of a food processor combine the Neufchatel cheese with the dill, half of the lemon juice, cayenne and a bit of salt and pepper. When the mixture is smooth, add the sardines, onions and capers. Mix them in until they are well combined with the cheese mixture, or pulse a few times if using a food processor. Add more lemon juice if needed. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve with crackers or cut up vegetables.


Anonymous said...

what a fabulous use of sardines - I think I may have a couple of tins in the pantry!! I'm going to have this tomorrow - yum!
Mary x

Anonymous said...

I made this last night. It was quick and easy and delicious! Thanks!

Carole said...

Gerlinde - what a goodie. And you will also see that Sardines have a Food on Friday all of their own (with anchovies) coming up next month. Cheers

Post a Comment