This week’s French Fridays with Dorie was one of firsts! The last time I encountered an ingredient I had never tried before was last summer’s beets for a salad I never got around making. While this experience is nowhere near as gleeful as that episode, I’m happy to report that I do like sardines. The sardines were used to make rilletes – a spread of paté like consistency that can made pretty much out of any ingredient. Dorie Greenspan is a big fan of rilletes – she also features salmon and tuna versions in Around My French Table. The salmon ones look especially tasty.
I made the rilletes while away for Easter weekend with my in-laws. They were the easiest audience to test this recipe with: for one, they are the least picky eaters I know (an great trait passed down to Eduardo), and I knew they liked and cooked with sardines. I took the easy way out and bought boned and skinned ones packed in olive oil.
The sardines were easily flaked into a bowl and combined with cream cheese, shallots, scallions, cilantro and tons of lemon juice. Eduardo could not resist making the comment that the finished product looked like something Gatamiaux would enjoy. Good thing we left her at home! I waited until the rilletes were set after chilling to venture try them. I did put a search engine query “what sardines taste like” and the Internet seemed to agree that they were a cross between tuna and anchovies. I really wanted to like them, especially since they are very healthy due to the high levels of Omega 3s.
I spooned some of the rilletes into a cracker and bit in. The verdict? Saltier tuna salad. I liked sardines! The leftovers – because the two cans the recipe called for yielded a LOT of spread – ended up in a toasted ciabatta roll for lunch the next day. What’s more, after I returned home, I got out another can and opened it with the excuse of taking a picture. Of course, I popped a little filet in my mouth just to see what it was like by itself. “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Move over, cat! Sardines are for people in this house!
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where we work our way through Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan’s award winning cookbook. To check out what the rest of the group thought about the sardine rilletes, click here. Have a great weekend!