I unintentionally came across a recipe for sardine rillettes on the Great British Chefs website, and it was something I’d never made before. Salmon and smoked trout and Arbroath smokies – yes, but not sardines! (Of course pork and duck rillettes.) What really caught my attention was that these rillettes were served with vodka-pickled cucumbers. Interesting indeed!
Great British Chefs is a British-based food website that contains thousands of recipes, as well as instructional guides, videos, features on British food, and profiles of chefs and restaurants in the UK. The participating chefs are too many to list, and I recognized no names, which really doesn’t mean much. No chef is associated with this particular recipe.
This rillettes recipe uses canned/tinned sardines, plus an interesting mix of garlic, olives, capers, and chipotle hot sauce. I served the rillettes with toast, hard-boiled eggs, olives, capers, tomatoes, pickled sweet peppers and asparagus, radishes, and cooked potatoes.
I was so excited about this recipe that I doubled it.
Sardine Rillettes with Vodka-pickled Cucumbers
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cucumber, finely sliced
1 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
4.2 ounces sardines in oil
1 garlic clove, grated to a paste
1 ounce black olives, pitted, finely chopped
1 dash of chipotle hot sauce
1 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
Lemon juice, 1 squeeze
1 1/2 ounces butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper to season
Toasted or grilled bread
To make the pickles, combine the vinegar, vodka sugar and salt and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Combine with the cucumbers, dill and pink peppercorns and set aside.
Drain the sardines of oil.
Mash the sardines to a paste, then mix in all the other ingredients.
Serve the rillettes and pickled cucumbers with toasted or grilled bread.
The rillettes were absolutely fabulous! Next time I’ll add more Tabasco; I really liked the zing.