It all started this weekend when my friend Phoebe, who often assists me with my cooking projects was telling my neighbor Mary, who helps me consume my kitchen projects, ” You remember Mary thatspiced fish that she made that was so good?”, and turning to me ” You know it is time you did it again”; hmmm.. I remember, they had helped put the scales (lemon and lime slices) back on that fish; no, I am in no mood for a grand dish like this right before Easter!
A while later, I was surfing French food blogs and I saw some rillettes de sardine, a sort of pâté, with crème fraîche and canned sardines.
… that’s it! I can make a Lebanese version of rillettes, a hummos with sardines, using a simplified version of the spiced fish that Phoebe and Mary and everybody else loved so much. After all, nobody out there seems to have any qualms about reinventing hummos!
INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings
Time required: 20 minutes
- 2 cans of sardines (about 4 ounces each or 250 g total)
- 2/3 cup of tahini
- 4 cloves of garlic, mashed with a dash of salt
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of water
- a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- a few celery sticks to garnish (optional)
- 3 or more pita bread, cut into fish shapes (or triangles for chips); use the scraps for pita croutons, fried or toasted.
- Place the pita cut-outs in the oven at 300F for 15 minutes until toasted and light brown.
- Drain the sardines and pat dry with paper towels.
MAKE THE TAHINI MAYONNAISE:
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan; add the chopped cilantro and mashed garlic. Let the mixture sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Add the tahini, lemon juice and stir rapidly; you will notice that it will curdle, keep stirring, adding water gradually until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds; taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice or water if needed.
MAKE THE SARDINE HUMMOS:
- Place in a food processor the sardines with the tahini mayonnaise.
- Pulse a few times until the mixture is mashed and smooth; taste for seasoning.
- Cut a few celery sticks if using and line them up on a plate.
- Cover the pita cut-outs with the sardine hummos and place on top of the celery sticks, garnishing with a caper or a raisin for the fish eye and a slice of lemon for the scales.
- Serve at room temperature.
NOTE: Pick sardines that are deboned and skinless to save yourself some time, otherwise you will have to debone them and skin them a bit.
You can substitute tuna in oil for the sardines; rinse it thoroughly before using.