Fresh sardines are abundant in the markets of Biarritz, so it’s only natural to find them in many forms on menus in the local cafes, bistros, and restaurants. This recipe makes the most of the preserved kind, the best of which you’ll find labeled as pilchards. Don’t dismiss a canned sardine, as paying the price makes all the difference. There shouldn’t be more than two ingredients on the label: sardines and olive oil. Traditionally, rillettes, a rough pate, are served with crusty bread or toast, but tomatoes make a delicious gluten-free alternative.
- Yield: 4 Servingsas a starter or light snack
- Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
- Cooking Time: 2 Minutes
- 7 tbsp (100 g) cream cheese, softened
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped capers
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ lemon zest
- Pinch of Espelette pepper
- Sea salt
- Good-quality sardines or pilchards in olive oil (drained weight 3½ oz/100 g), large bones removed and oil reserved
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 or 4 different colored, firm tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
- Mix together the cream cheese, shallot, capers, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and Espelette pepper and season with sea salt.
- Use a fork to mash the sardines until it has a chunky texture and then stir into the cream cheese mixture.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat, and add the olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the tomato slices. Cook for 1 minute on each side, or until caramelized. Make sure not to overcook them, or they will become soft.
- Remove the tomatoes from the heat and, when they are cool enough to handle, top each with a dollop of pâté. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley and drizzle with a little of the sardine oil. Serve immediately.