Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sardine Pate

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – The more it changes the more it is the same thing:  Jean Karr, Les Guêpes, 1849.

My Mother thinks I’m cruel serving little kids cold sardines when they come round to my house for lunch, but my daughter and her friends seem to love it and will eat this by the spoonful. My son is less enthusiastic, but usually eats a little. It really must be served chilled, so ideally, make a little ahead of time or put the tinned sardines in the fridge.  Seasonable at any time!
Blend a whole tin of sardines (in tomato sauce or just oil) in a food processor and add variations of the following; olive oil, lemon juice, fresh tomatos, cream cheese (or natural yogurt).  The sardines without the fresh tomato/ tomato sauce look a little grey (and to my mind unappetizing), but some friend’s kids prefer this if they’ve an anti-tomato thing going on.  (I’ve left out the dairy before too, for a lactose intolerance 3 year old).  I like a little texture to my pate, but the kids seem to like it smooth.  We serve either on toast (can be grilled topped with fresh tomatoes), or in individual pots with toast fingers or that toddler favourite; the bread stick. 
Elizabeth David refers to a version of this recipe twice in “An Omelette & a Glass of Wine” as Sardine Butter with versions given using the same amount of sardines as butter; a “scant ounce of butter” and also adding cayenne pepper.  She clearly took her sardines very seriously as she spent time touring French sardine-canning factories as research. 

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