Canned Sardines by Kai Chan

In our household we stock up on tins of sardines in oil; the Portuguese brands are the best.  It is handy to have them for the winter time and on a rainy day when no one wants to go shopping. We also like to have them as snacks. We love this recipe by Elizabeth David: Take out the sardines from the tin without the oil and mash them with two or three tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Put the mixture in the fridge for about three or four hours. This sardine butter is now ready to be spread on crackers or bread. It is very delicious.

Another of our favourite sardine snacks is this recipe  adapted from the “bar snack” chapter of Gabrielle Hamilton’s cookbook, “Prune”.
1 can sardines in oil            1 dollop Dijon mustard     
small handful cornichons        small handful Triscuit crackers        
1 parsley branch

Then she gave details in how to prepare and consume it:
Stack the sardines on the plate the same way they looked in the can - more or less
Don’t crisscross or zigzag or otherwise make “restauranty”.
Commit to the full stem of parsley, not just the leaf. Chewing the stems freshens the breath.

Well, you really have to carefully follow her instructions to appreciate this simple pleasure.

The Raw and the Cooked, MYTHOLOGIQUES is a new column on the culture of eating and cooking, with contributions by various authors. The column name is borrowed from the title of a book by Claude Levi-Strauss. It is spontaneous, a little amusing but serious at the same time.