Sardine pâté is something of a Portuguese speciality where it is often served before a meal, along with olives and delicious dense textured bread which is unique to Portugal. Although sardine pâté is not the prettiest dish to look at, sardines are cheap, healthy and nutritious as well as being absolutely delicious so it’s definitely worth giving this pâté a try. Here we’ve paired them with another Mediterranean favourite, salt-cured capers, which add a tanginess and an extra touch that move this pâté from good to great! If you can, make sure the capers you use are packed in sea salt. All capers, which are flowers from the caper plant, are packed in salt originally. The ones that are then cleaned and repackaged in water or vinegar to be sold, suffer and begin to loose their flavour and end up just tasting of vinegar! To use capers in salt, first rinse away all the salt (unless your dish badly needs some added salt), and then soak them in water for a quarter of an hour or so.
Be aware that it’s best if this pâté is made the day before you eat it so it can be chilled overnight. It can also be frozen up to a month.
This makes a great appetizer or an ideal light meal if served with a nice salad.Print
Sardine Pâté with Capers
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Cuisine: Fish
- 8–10 whole sardines, cleaned and filleted (350g) or good quality tinned sardines
- 1 large onion, diced
- 30g capers
- 70g butter (room temperature)
- 1tsp paprika (spicy)
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- sea salt
- freshly-ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- First prepare your sardines. If you have a friendly fishmonger you can ask them to gut them and clean off any scales although you’ll probably still need to fillet and debone them which can be a little fiddly and certainly requires some fish boning tweezers. It depends how long you want to be in the kitchen. It can be quite a soothing and enjoyable way to pass the time, especially as you’re preparing everything from scratch. Alternatively if time is of the essence you can always choose to use some good quality tinned sardines instead.
- Having remove the heads, tails and any fins and cleaned and deboned your fish, butterfly them and arrange them in the single layer on a baking tray. Season well with with salt and pepper, and bake until just cooked, about eight minutes.
- Remove them from oven and put to one side to cool.
- Once they have cooled to room temperature, put your sardines in your food processor along with the diced onion, the butter, capers, paprika and olive oil and pulse until well blended. It’s up to you how smooth you make your pâté, but there’s alot to be said about a nice chunky pâté.
- Add lemon juice and taste. Add salt and pepper if required, although if you’ve used capers that were preserved in sea salt, then you almost certainly won’t need to add any more salt.
- Scrape your pâté into a suitably sized ramekin or terracotta bowl and put in the fridge to chill overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before serving, ideally with some lovely fresh bread!