Every summer, my family would go on holiday for the month of August. We’d go “up country” to the lakes north of Kamloops. British Columbia is dotted with freshwater lakes and we visited many of them. We’d stay at one for a while and if the fishing wasn’t good, my Dad would hitch up the Boler trailer and the family would pile back into the car, ready to explore the next forestry campsite. My sister, brother, and I would run through the woods, swim in the lakes, read books by the shore, and at least once a day, we’d go out in the boat to troll for trout. The rule was, If You Catch It, You Clean It and when the fishing was good, we got a lot of practice.
I found myself thinking about these trips the other day, while removing the spine and tail from two tins’ worth of sardines for this week’s recipe. It’s a much easier job than cleaning trout, if a bit fussier. The process is almost as rewarding, though, because rillettes are my new best friend. Forget dip, spread, and stuffing – the only word you need, I’ve found, is rillettes.
For this recipe, sardines are mashed into a mixture of cream cheese, onions, and herbs, with lime juice and a dash of cayenne for bite. Chilled overnight, the rillettes become a thick, spreadable paste. You might spread it on bread or crackers, use it to stuff eggs or vegetables, or add it to a plate of crudités for dipping.
We still had a big bag of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Onion Biscuits in the freezer, so we baked a few and while they were still warm, filled them with rillettes, with a few cornichons on the side. The next day, we did it again. I’m going to have to make another batch if I want to try these rillettes with anything else. I think a thin layer on rye bread would make an excellent condiment for a Montréal smoked meat sandwich. For example. I might have to try Dorie’s recipe for Salmon Rillettes, first, though. And perhaps I’ll have to get my hands on some rainbow trout and work up a version for that, too. Like I said, rillettes are my new best friend.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Sardine Rillettes
20 thoughts on “FFWD – Sardine Rillettes”
I agree, these are so versatile. Another great jumping off point from Dorie. Making sandwiches from the biscuits is a great idea. I don’t know about the smoked meat, but the rillettes were wonderful on rye toast for breakfast. I think rillettes could be my new best friend too.
On toast for breakfast sounds lovely.
Oh my, I am very impressed at your versatility with the rillettes- it looks so yummy on the biscuits- what a grand idea! Loved your fishing stories.
Thanks, Bev! I had a lot of time to reminisce, working through two cans of sardines.
I have to tell you, I always used to help my dad clean the fish when I was little; but somehow, these little grey guys I couldn’t deal with… Maybe I am not as strong as I used to be 🙂 But oh man, how fondly I remember that freshly campfire grilled fish…
I like your rillettes applications and I am looking forward to trying this approach with another species.
It’s funny how things change when we grow up. Some things get easier and some become impossible to contemplate. Hope the salmon or tuna versions work better for you.
Oh wow! The rilletes must have been wonderful with the onion biscuits! What a great snack.
Thanks, Adriana. They were so good that I contemplated not sharing!
I bet you could use all sorts of fish to do this with and different types of herbs and other mix-ins! 🙂
I agree, Alice – there are so many possibilities. I’ll have to try some more over the summer, preferably with fresh herbs from my garden, once it grows.
Teresa, these look fantastic! The sardine filling, the onion biscuits, the pickles… all are making my savory-inclined mouth water!
Thanks, Leslie. I’ll have to keep these in mind the next time we have a get-together at Tricia’s!
Teresa, I flipped the page this week and made Dorie’s Rillettes de Thon and loved them. I, too, like the “idea” of rillettes, really it’s a paté, and will make it often. Glad you liked it. Pretty Post. Mary
Thanks, Mary! The tuna version sounds delicious, too.
Teresa, I like sardines. Your photos are great. I may give this a whirl.
Thanks, Carmen – you should absolutely try this recipe. it’s really good.
Very pretty biscuits! It’s so nice how making some of these recipes brings back so many good memories for us. Trout rillettes sounds good!