I was happy when I saw this week's recipe. When I first got my cookbook, I went through it and marked off all the recipes I wanted to try, and this was one of them. The dear ole hubs loves sardines and I love simple recipes. Win-win.
But I started getting nervous after reading some of the other bloggers. I've never actually tasted a sardine before. And I'm still not totally sure what rillettes are. I was imagining a spread similar to the heavenly smoked trout dip they used to serve at Houston's when I worked there.
Well, my guess wasn't too far off, but there's definitely something *special* about these rillettes.
Why should I have been nervous? I eat sushi, for crack sake! And I'm not talking about California rolls or Philly rolls, as good as they are. Hubs and I want to go to an omakase where, for the first course, they'll test us with soupbowls of extra fresh fish before they start sending over the good stuff. We just saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi and we drooled throughout the entire movie. So if I can't stomach a measly sardine, then what? Our dreams are dashed. Look for us at the conveyor belt sushi bar.
I decided to use only one can of sardines - why waste two? - and I went with chives for the fresh herbs. I couldn't be sure how the dill or cilantro would taste with the sardines, so I wanted to play it safe. The recipe wasn't complicated - the hardest part was the tasting. After I added the sardines, I tried a teeny bit to see if I needed to add more salt. Hmmm...not too bad. Kind of okay. And then, all of a sudden, I started to feel nauseated. Ack! I knew it was just my head and my stomach in a battle of wills, but it was best not to think about it or eat any more. Cover and chill and worry about it later.
All day today, the little bowl in the fridge taunted me. If I wanted to get my blog post up on French Friday, I'd have to taste the damn recipe and take pictures. I could wait no longer.
I plated some crackers and rillettes to take photos and my son came right over. "What's that?" he asked. "I want."
"Are you sure?" I imagined the face he'd make when he tried one. I hoped he wouldn't spit it out onto the floor.
"I want." He grabbed a rillette and shoved it into his mouth. I grabbed a napkin.
"Mmmmm!" His mouth was full of sardines, onions, cream cheese and crackers. Did I mention, he's 2?
"Seriously? You like it?" Shock and awe.
"Yes. More, please."
It's official. My son is a foodie in the making. I'm so proud that he's not afraid to try new foods, but it makes one thing clear. I'm totally pathetic. I spread some rillettes on a cracker and popped it in my mouth. Hmmm...not too bad. Kind of okay. And then, all of a sudden, I realized he was right. It was good.
The rillettes benefited from the overnight flavor meld. Half of the bowl was gone before dear ole hubs even came home. And he - the only person in the house whom I thought would like this dish - was like, meh. Ha!
Oh, and that *special* something about this dish? Well, it's certainly...aromatic. I think pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the rillettes is really to keep the odor from permeating your whole refrigerator. Be forewarned!
See what the other bloggers thought here. Surprisingly, it looks like a majority of the others liked it too!
The verdict: grade: B, I'd probably make this again as written, but I'd definitely like to try some other versions - salmon, tuna and smoked trout come to mind.
Thanks for reading, and happy eats!