Monday, April 16, 2012

FFwD: I'm here! I'm here!

I haven't forgotten Dorie. We took a trip to New Orleans (I'm now in love with NO), and though I completed both Asparagus and Bits of Bacon (pg 330 of Around My French Table) and the Sardine Rillettes (pg 25) before we left, I never managed to post about it. Whattaya gonna do?

As far as the asparagus goes, there were no surprises. It's a fairly familiar flavor combo, so I have no strong response or dramatic stories to tell regarding it. Will it replace my standard preference of just grilling the asparagus with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper? Nah, probably not. It's nice to have a recipe every now and then that is exactly what you expect and want it to be.
Conclusion: Liked it.

Now. I don't even know where to start with the sardine rillettes. I, like the few Doristas whose posts I've caught up on, bought the most expensive sardines in the store, just to give myself a fighting chance, not that they were really that pricey. Didn't realize I'd have to de-bone them. Honestly, I started out being okay with that idea. I thought it would be self-explanatory once I got in there, because Dorie didn't really provide much by way of instruction besides "lift away the bones" and cut the tail off. I thought the fish's spine (if that's what it was) was pretty cool, and I confess to studying the teeny tiny little vertebrae. While I had my face that close, I noticed almost-invisible slivers of bone in the meat. I attempted to remove those, too, and that's when everything started downhill. I destroyed the first sardine and came to the conclusion that the splintery bones were meant to stay in. I scraped the spine out of the next fish, and then started to get skeeved out that my hands were covered in sloughed-off scales and skin. I decided to scrape the skin off. Mistake. My stomach lurched on the second fish, and between the mess and the smell, I'd had enough after three fish. There wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to muck about with two entire tins of sardines. Nuh-uh. No way.

I mashed my three sardines up with my cream cheese, shallot, scallion, chive, and lemon mixture, then stuck it in the fridge for two hours.
I've read that a few folks thought this tasted like tuna. I thought it tasted like tuna's aftertaste, which is a very different thing than tasting like tuna itself. Maybe if I'd used the whole tin, it would have tasted more tuna-ey, but I can't even imagine that adding more fish would have fixed it. One bite was enough for me. That cream cheese mixture, minus the sardines, would have been kick-ass on an Everything bagel, though. Matt thought he liked it after one bite, but by the third, he decided that he didn't like it. This one was a big old bust, and I'm glad it's out of the way so I never have to eat it again.

Conclusion: Hated it.


  1. Good to hear from you. It's maybe silly, but I do actually do start to get worried if we don't hear from regulars for a while.

    And I'm very impressed with our little group, that so many of us tried the sardines. Like them or not, I think we should all be proud of ourselves for making them.

    And isn't nawlins just an amazing city! I love it there too.

  2. I agree that the onion-y cream cheese was delicious. While I didn't mind - and actually liked - the sardines, I would consider making the rillete binder by itself.

    So now you know what it means... to miss New Orleans. I'm itching to go back. It's been almost four years since my last time.

  3. Team hater here! Those sardines were just plain wrong. Tuna aftertaste - ha! I think the cream cheese mixture would have been much better sans sardines...

    Glad to see you're still out there :-)

  4. Yeah, I was confused a bit about the spine as well. Sorry the bones didn't come out nice and clean for you. Another reason to hate pesky sardines!

  5. I still haven't caught up on the asparagus post - my computer was in the shop, sadly. Perhaps I'll do it today.

    We really enjoyed both recipes. We love asparagus and this recipe will be on our once in a while list, for sure. I really enjoyed the sardine rillettes - it's been a very split decision in the group!

  6. Hilarious take on the sardines! I enjoyed the rillettes, but I found that they needed a lot of time in the fridge. Overnight was good, but the next day was even better - the funkiness mellowed out quite a bit.

  7. What a great post! I so enjoyed reading it. I liked the asparagus with onion and bacon, but I don't think it will replace my standard either. The sardine rillettes were a hit with my husband and daughter, but I know that I won't want to eat them again any time soon. Loved the cream cheese in it and want to try that with tuna fish.