I am not interested in your chocolate layer cake, your brownies or your doughnut, at all. But I will gladly take your anchovies. Or your sardines. I have spent this entire summer bingeing on taramosalata. Working out for an extra 10 minutes so I can reward myself with a handful of crackers, slathered, no, piled high, in salty, pink bliss. Quite simply, I love trashy fish.
We are headed to Monterey at the end of this month for our friends’ Danny and Kasia’s wedding. We are really looking forward to the wedding, wine tasting, a climate different than that of Venus, and the Eden that is California and its delicious food. Jim and I are somehow very lucky to travel to Northern California every late summer/fall and we wine taste and we eat too much and we laugh until we hurt and we drive windy roads and we look around at all the kooky flora and we truly relax. It’s a tradition I hope never ends.
So we are dreaming of our impending vacation. Yesterday Jim asked me if I had read this month’s Bon Appetit article about Monterey. I had not. He said he left the magazine open to the first page of the article. This morning I checked it out, first item on the menu - grilled sardines - yum. I really didn’t need to go any further. But it also said that since fresh sardines are rare in this country outside of this part of California, true, I have never seen them here, they had a cheat method for those without fresh sardines - a sardine dip instead. We were in luck! I had all the ingredients needed just downstairs.
Jim’s kids are good about eating. They aren’t too fussy and we don’t feed them kid food, (which in my opinion should be banned) they eat what we eat and they really enjoy it. Occasionally an item comes up that might be skeptical, like snails. Jim’s son wouldn’t touch them but his daughter popped three right in her mouth and smiled and said ‘yum!’ I’m not sure if she did this to irritate her brother or she genuinely liked them. I don’t care, she ate them. She also likes eel and ikura. Jim’s son was given a surprise this Sunday when I made a snack plate of various whats-its for visiting friends and he asked if he could have some. I made him a kid sized plate of what we were eating, he came back for more and my friend Jessica asked ‘How were the eggs? ‘What eggs?’ ‘The fish eggs.’ Frowny face. Taramosalata not so good all of a sudden. So I made the sardine dip last evening and I thought it was pretty good but Jim’s son told me and made a point to tell me how awesome he thought it was, again and again, and ate so many servings Jim had to tell him to stop before he ruined his dinner. And we told him it had sardines in it and everything was OK. Jim really liked it too.
Sardine Dip - Serves 4 as an appetizer - adapted from Bon Appetit
1 can boneless sardines packed in oil
2 tablespoons chopped Spanish onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor, turn on, stream in oil and lemon juice, scrape down sides, turn on again. Serve with table water crackers.
Notes : Good with a dry white wine.