Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sardine Rillettes

Sardines - they're usually NOT what's for dinner. But, packed with good stuff like Omega 3s, calcium, vitamins B12 and D, not to mention protein, these little nuggets are worth getting to know better. To top it all off, they are one of the most sustainable fish you can buy because they are so plentiful and multiple so quickly, being at the bottom of the fish food chain.  I have enjoyed them in salads but was thrilled to see that Around My French Table made them into Rillettes, perfect for snacks, light dinners or a party.

Traditionally rillettes are made from slow cooked pork, duck or goose, cooked in its own fat. When I was volunteering at Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley we made some amazing pork rillettes and I have been hooked ever since. But Dorie Greenspan in Around My French Table pointed out that people are making rillettes from not only sardines but salmon as well. It's a whole new world!

Unlike pork or fowl rillettes this version should be eaten within 1-2 days of making it; otherwise the fish flavor begins to overpower everything else. Do be sure to get really fresh green herbs; they make all the difference!

Sardine Rillettes

2 packages 2.5 oz sardines packed in olive oil
2 1/2 oz cream cheese (or neufchatel)
2 shallots, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin, white and light green parts
4 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (parsley, cilantro, dill)
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Gently mash cream cheese with herbs, shallots, green onions, lemon juice, salt and cayenne.  Remove sardines from oil and cut down the middle and remove the backbone (depending on the size of the sardine, it will be like a gold link chain).  Discard bones and mash into cream cheese mixture.  Taste for additional salt and or lemon juice. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and serve with crackers.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce at Simply Recipes
Spinach and Cannelini Bean Dip at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Tapioca Pudding with Saffron and Nuts at ECurry


sophie said...

Good idea! I happened to have a pack of sardines on hand. What crackers did you use?

Kirsten Lindquist said...

I used "Mary Gone Crackers" which are gluten free, just because they were what we had on hand. But I think these would do better with a water cracker or even rye crisps. Hope you enjoy!

katiez said...

I've made salmon rilletes - which I loved. And I love sardines - usually right out of the tin with crackers for lunch....
This looks delicious!