Sardine Butter

By • February 28, 2012 • 55 Comments



Author Notes: When I asked my boyfriend, an avid lover of seafood of all kinds, what I should make for this contest, he quickly and enthusiastically answered, “sardine butter!” Eaten on toast as an hors d’oeuvre or starter, it is the love child of two ingredients beloved by people from his region of France: sea salt-laced butter, and sardines. As a bonus, it is really easy to make and store. cristinasciarra

Food52 Review: WHO: cristinasciarra lives in Brooklyn, is getting her MFA in writing, and loves to travel.
WHAT: A simple French-inspired butter of sardines with a kiss of lemon and chives for depth.
HOW: Mashing the butter and sardines takes nothing but a fork -- no special equipment required!
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is butter with some body, able to stand up to the crustiest bread and sturdiest cracker. It keeps well, too!
A&M

Serves about 6 people

  • 1.25 sticks/10 tablespoons salted butter, slightly softened (If you can find butter with actual crystals of salt, even better)
  • 1 can good quality sardines, packed in oil (either use boneless or debone yourself!)
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • about a tablespoon of minced chives
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the softened butter in a medium bowl. Drain the sardines, and add them to the bowl. Use a fork to mash the butter and the sardines together. Have fun!
  2. After a minute, add the lemon juice. Keep mashing until incorporated. At the last minute, add the chives, and some black pepper.
  3. Move the butter to a ramekin, or roll it in plastic to form a log. Refrigerate it for at least an hour or so.
  4. Serve the sardine butter with toast.
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Comments (55) Questions (1)

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Ribs

5 months ago Kevin French

Just made this (sure it will get even better as it sits and melds) but this is a major win. Hard not to spread it like fish dip, as it is so good! Used the fancy butter and followed the recipe as described. Will surely make this again.

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5 months ago melie

This will be perfect on Matzot during passover ( or year round ) !

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over 1 year ago Aliwaks

Made this the other night with some peppered smoked mackerel that I discovered in the freezer... it was perfect.

Stringio

over 1 year ago janet.antene

My brother and nephew will LOVE this... Thank you!

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over 1 year ago cristinasciarra

I hope they do!

Taz

over 1 year ago Mel Lewis

Looking for something special and just found it. How can you go wrong for in home tailgate party.

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over 1 year ago LetaBee

Yum.. a little of the lemon zest might be nice.

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over 1 year ago karmaya

my husband, a Brit who loves sardines on toast, will be blown away by this terrific version. it's today's lunch! thanks!

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over 1 year ago lfree

This was amazing. Even the devout sardine haters in my family devoured it.

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over 1 year ago cristinasciarra

I'm so glad!

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almost 2 years ago Christine Hardy Leaf

Loved this, elegantly served in the glass egg coddler I purchased through you on line. So civilized.

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about 2 years ago btglenn

I make this recipe with whipped cream cheese instead of butter, and add the can's olive oil to the mix. While this isn't exactly a sardine "butter", it is a rich and tasty spread on toast or rye bread, and, for those concerned about health and cholesterol, much lower on the animal fats that delicious high fat butter has to offer. Mix in minced scallions or chives for added flavor.

Me

about 2 years ago adashofbitters

My god, I want to pan-sear a flatiron steak and slather this all over it while it's steaming hot.

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6 months ago tamater sammich

Oh, that made me laugh.
And I know, I know, that comment was 3 years ago, but I can't help wondering - did ya do it?

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about 2 years ago sarah k.

This is a winner! My kids love radishes with butter, and they love sardines, so I made your sardine butter for the radishes today and it's marvelous. My 5 year old was practically jumping up and down with excitement.

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6 months ago tamater sammich

Oh, that made me laugh. And I know, I know, that comment was 3 years ago, but I can't help wondering - did ya do it?

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6 months ago tamater sammich

Sorry if I confused you. The comment above was meant for adashofbitters, above.

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over 2 years ago ashleypiersonchasesdinner

Congrats on your win! This looks delicious!

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over 2 years ago AnnieHynes

Loved! and soooo easy. Thanks!

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over 2 years ago jstew52

Oh good gracious this is tasty. I used salted Plugra and a few additional flakes of larger fleur de sel. I think my weekly butter comsumption amount is going up!

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

Fleur de sel is ace! I'm so glad you liked the recipe.

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Congrats! An awesome recipe!

Stringio

over 2 years ago Anne S

Verdict: yummy. My sardine tin was a 4.38oz size, which contributed to a slightly more crumbly texture until I really packed it in, but I like the flavor, so I probably won't adjust the fish:butter ratio. Thumbs up!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Congrats on your win! Can't wait to try this!

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over 2 years ago khoops

If only my boyfriend would come within a yard of an anchovy... Guess this will have to be all mine!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! I totally love this idea and I can't wait to try it out once I restock my sardine supply!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Congratulations! Looking forward to trying this.

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over 2 years ago BocaCindi

This sounds great!! This comment from someone with a Swedish heritage who eats pickled herring with hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Of course this would sound terrific. And tuna with butter and mayo. Please.....

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over 2 years ago krusher

Yum. I love canned sardines and eat them often. Lovely recipe and certainly one for me to use. Thanks and congratulations.

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over 2 years ago krusher

Yum. I love canned sardines and eat them often. Lovely recipe and certainly one for me to use. Thanks and congratulations.

Burnt_offering

over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Have you made this using salted capers instead of chives? I bet that would be awesome too.

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

I haven't tried that. Next time!

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over 2 years ago cheese1227

Congrats!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

Sardine cans are different sizes...how many ounces should I get?
looks amazing...

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

My can was 3.7 ounces, but you can adjust the butter/sardine ratio based on your personal tastes if you like!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

thanks a lot!

Stringio

over 2 years ago opicurious

Oops! sorry about that...weird...

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over 2 years ago vrunka

Yum. I love it -- simple and delicious.

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over 2 years ago Third Floor Kitchen

This is amazingly delicious! I used Wild Planet sardines and Isigny Ste Mere butter. So far I've tried it on toasted whole grain English muffins, traditional toast points, and a couple of sliced radishes. What I really want to do is take the ramekin, sit on the couch, and eat it straight up. Great recipe!

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

Haha no judgement here if you start eating it directly from the ramekin!

Fb

over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Congratulations! Butter, salt, fish...what's not to love? This sounds divine. My family will love it.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So glad to see this one in the winners' circle! Congrats. ;o)

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over 2 years ago Victoria Carr

Of all the recipes entered into this contest, this is the one I checked out. It looks really good to me. I didn't enter my tuna salad because it's so plain, but I make it by mixing really good canned tuna (and I don't mean white albacore - I mean light, either Wild Planet - the very best to me - or Bumble Bee light packed in olive oil) mixed with chopped onion, chopped celery, and mayonnaise mixed with softened butter. Butter just adds so much to canned fish.

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

Thanks, Victoria! I am so glad my recipe caught your attention. I have never tried mixing tuna salad with butter before, but now I think I know what I'll have for lunch.... :)

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over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Love the photo....and the slate background! And the name too. When we were growing up (in Nigeria), we made and ate loads of sardine 'butter' sarnies though more sardines and less butter. Looks really good.

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

Thanks, Kitchen Butterfly!

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over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

And many congratulations - it won my heart from the start....

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over 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

Yum.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

How fortunate we all are that your boyfriend shared this important but often overlooked bit of culinary wisdom: how utterly exquisite butter + salty tinned seafood can be. This is a perfect example. Love it! Thanks so much for posting this recipe. ;o) P.S This would also be excellent on a water biscuit, for a somewhat lighter treat.

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over 2 years ago cristinasciarra

Thanks, AntoniaJames! He and his family have taught me a lot about sea creatures. Since he convinced me to try my first oyster a few years ago, I haven't looked back yet!