Sardine paté

sardine pate1 sardine pate2
sardine pate3 sardine pate4
Paté, home-made just the way you like it, makes a very nice teatime snack, party food or starter for a meal.

This is full of flavour and nourishment and can be made in advance when organising a barbecue or dinner party.
Or it can be made in sufficient quantity to last a number of days, and kept in the ‘fridge to be called off when you feel like it.
Consistent with the philosophy of healthy and economic food, this recipe contains a minimum variety of ingredients: inexpensively sourced, with no added salt or artificial additives, and no hydrogenated or otherwise adulterated items.

Watch the video

Watch the video on Youtube

Mise en place

Before starting, make sure you have everything you need ready, as listed below. That includes: the ingredients, utensils, clean surfaces and chopping board, and clean hands. The quantities of ingredients are not critical, so you can adapt to suit your preference, diet or what you have handy.
The quantities below will make at least twenty crackers, depending on how generous you are.


  • Tinned sardines in oil. Two small tins. Do not use sardines in tomato sauce or any other variation.
  • Butter or margarine. About 125g. Unsalted butter is preferred, and it needs to be softened by leaving it out of the fridge for a few hours. The fat is there to bind the mixture, so you don’t need a lot of it.
  • Tomato purée. A squeeze from a tube – as you like it, but enough to give the mixture a pink tint.
  • Cracker biscuits. Whatever shape you like, but preferably without cheesy or other flavouring.

Optional ingredients

  • Paprika to impart a little “bite”
  • Other herbs or spices, as you see fit.
  • Decorations, such as celery sticks, as you see fit.

Utensils etc

  • A clean worktop and hands.
  • Sharp knife and chopping board.
  • Mixing bowl.

Part 1 – prepare the mixture

  • Cut up the butter into small pieces and place in the bowl.
  • If the butter is hard, it can be softened by placing the bowl in a dish of hot water for a short while. Do not melt the butter as it spoils the texture and flavour.
  • Partly open the tins of sardines and carefully drain away the oil.
  • Open the tins fully and add contents to the butter.
  • With the back of the fork mash the ingredients thoroughly. Some may want to use a blender for larger quantities, but this can make the mixture homogenised and lacking in character. A fork gets the required consistently quickly enough.
  • I like to use a little paprika to impart some “bite” (a couple of peas in the above quantity).
  • Add a squeeze of tomato purée, mix it in and add more as you see fit.
  • Part 2 – serve on crackers

  • Muster your ingredients: the paté, crackers and any decorations.
  • Place a small mound of paté on each cracker. No need to spread it out neatly – this is party/comfort food.
  • Decorate as you like, and arrange the crackers on the serving dish or basket.
  • Arrange in dishes or baskets, with napkin lining for presentation.
  • What next

    This is comfort or party food. The coarse but soft texture is interesting on the palate, and the full flavour of the fish comes through.

    Note on preserving

    Paté keeps well in the ‘fridge for a few days in sealed container, or in the freezer.
    If you have leftover prepared crackers, either eat them quickly before anybody sees you, or separate the paté for the ‘fridge and use the crackers for something else.

    Return to kitchen hacks

    Back to Kitchen hacks