Lemon Juice

Lemony Sardine Pate

February 24, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

I got the idea for this pate from David Lebovitz who made a sardine pate using fresh sardines, Korean red pepper flakes and Japanese togarashi. Though fresh sardines are not hard to find in my home area, fresh cleaned and filleted sardines are. So I decided to make it using canned sardines and seasoning it with Aleppo (but you can use any dried fragrant chili that you have on hand). Serve with toast, sliced baguettes, or crackers for an elegant appetizer. Add a simple green salad and a glass of dry white wine, and it becomes a light lunch. I've even spread this on a baguette with pickled carrots and daikon for a banh mi style sandwich. —HalfPint

Test Kitchen Notes

This is an easy pantry hors d'oeuvre. It takes no time at all to whip up and has a satisfying, smooth and creamy texture. It doesn't taste fishy -- we noticed a pleasant meaty flavor. —Rebecca Vitale

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Makes ~1 cup
  • 2 cans sardines in olive oil, ~4 oz each
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or any mildly spicy, fragrant chili
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • salt, optional
In This Recipe
  1. Put all ingredient, even sardine oil, in a food processor. Blend until you get a somewhat smooth paste. Taste; add salt and more lemon juice, if needed.
  2. Alternatively, mash all the ingredients in a blender, a stand mixer (or hand mixer), and even, in a bowl with a wooden spoon. The texture will be a little chunkier, but as long as the butter is very soft, you will be able to achieve a nice paste.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving.

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