Sardine Butter. Does the combination of these two words have you salivating or grimacing? Canned sardines are a delicious, nutritious fish, but they aren’t everyone’s favorite. The flavor can be a little, well, fishy. But there are a lot of omega-3s and other nutrients packed into those small, oily little fish, so finding a way to love ‘em is a worthwhile endeavor.
Butter, on the other hand…who doesn’t love butter? Mashing butter and canned sardines together with lemon and cayenne makes a simple but stunning spread. Sardine butter has a more assertive, less delicate flavor than anchovy butter. But sardine butter is much less “fishy” than sardines straight out of the can (if that’s a plus for your taste buds).
In recipes like this, with so few ingredients, quality matters. Use your favorite salted butter, hopefully one that’s pastured or cultured. Grab a few cans of sardines from the grocery store, taste-testing to find you favorite. Boneless sardines give the butter a smoother texture, but if you don’t mind a little crunchiness (and want the calcium) then go ahead and use bone-in. Whether they’re smoked or un-smoked, packed in water or olive oil, is your choice.
Sardine butter can be spread on your favorite Primal cracker, or on the Parmigiano-Reggiano & sesame crisps included in the recipe below. Sardine butter is fantastic spread on raw, crunchy veggies like radishes or dolloped onto warm roasted vegetables.
Servings: Approximately 1 cup sardine butter
Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes
- 1 can sardines, drained of water or oil (4 ounces/120 g)
- 6 ounces salted butter, room temperature (170 g)
- Juice of 1/2 a small lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (1.2 ml)
Depending on how much you like canned sardines, you can use the whole can or just 1 or 2 fillets for this recipe.
In a bowl, use a fork to mash the sardines and butter together. Add the lemon juice and cayenne and mash until blended in.
Pack the butter into a small dish or scoop it onto parchment paper and roll it into a log that can be sliced. The butter can be served immediately or refrigerated until firm.
Parmigiano-Reggiano Sesame Crisps
- 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (85 g)
- A few grinds black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (30 ml)
Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Grind half the cheese with the side of the box grater that grates shreds of cheese, and half the cheese with the side of a box grater that grates cheese very finely.
Combine both piles of cheese in a bowl with black pepper.
Drop rounded tablespoons of the cheese on the baking sheet. Sprinkle sesame seeds on each pile.
Bake 6 to 7 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Let cool, then remove from pan with a spatula.