Scrumptious Seafood: Sardine Pâté

Photo by: Andrea Nguyen

For opening night of the Seafood for Thought exhibit, last Friday, the Cannery served a variety of tasty appetizers including dishes made with sustainable seafood. One of these stood out among the rest and was well-liked by all the visitors. Karen Lee, Public Programs Manager, created an adaption of David Lebowitz’s sardine pâté. Her version used 2 cans of sardines packed in oil, and omitted the chili powder and oil. I like it served on a cracker with a little dab of dijon.

Give this simple recipe a try; it is delicious!

Sardine Pâté

Serves eight


  • 8 whole sardines, cleaned and filleted (about 12 ounces, 350g)
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 bunch of chives, minced
  • big pinch of chili powder
  • 2 ounces (70g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly-squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Arrange the sardines in the single layer in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake until just cooked, about eight minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Pulse the sardines in a food processor, or mash them with a fork, along with the shallots, chives, chile powder, butter, and olive oil, until relatively smooth, but still a bit chunky.
  5. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste, adjusting the seasonings to your liking.
  6. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and chill for at least eight hours, or overnight.
  7. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Storage: Pâté can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to one month.

Recipe Source: David Lebowitz

*Learn more about how to make ocean-friendly seafood choices by visiting our new temporary exhibit Seafood for Thought, on now until April 2013, at the Cannery.*
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