Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sardine Mousse & Argula Manchego Salad

YOU: Sardine mousse? Really? Really?

ME: Really!

I have been wanting to experiment with sardines for awhile now, because, according to
several reliable sources, they're magic in a can! Plus, there's something so rustic and decidedly low-rent about eating fish from a little tin. I feel like I should also be sporting a handlebar moustache and smoking from a pipe while wearing my tattered argyle sweater vest.

I conceived the idea for sardine mousse...well, I don't remember when, exactly. But having semi-recently had chicken liver mousse at a restaurant and really liking it, and having been experimenting with my food processor, I thought I'd try my hand at a fancy classic. And it was good!

It tasted, actually, a lot like tuna salad. And who doesn't like the occasional tuna salad? It was definitely a bit "fishier" tasting, but not in the creepy maybe-this-is-too-old-to-eat way. It was pleasant. And I got to fantasize that I was wearing a gauzy white tunic, standing on a rocky cliff overlooking a hidden little fishing village somewhere near...this place:

Or this one:

Maybe even this one:

You get the idea. On crisp grilled toast, with a nice fresh salad and a fancy pants clementine soda, the sardine mousse was a perfect lunch. And my nutrient-fortified body agrees!


1 tin sardines packed in olive oil
1/3 stick butter, room temperature
spoonful of mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
red pepper flakes
3 slices French bread, sliced about 1/2" thin on a deep bias
a little olive oil for brushing
fresh chopped parsley for garnish

handful baby arugula
a few slices manchego cheese
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
small drizzle olive oil
small drizzle balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Add all the mousse ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of the processor as needed. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub a little olive oil onto the bread slices. When the pan's hot, grill them, using something heavy (like a cast-iron pot) to weigh them down so they get pronounced grill marks (this is not required, but it speeds up the process). When the bread has nice grill marks, spread some mousse on each piece and top with parsley.

Make the salad: in a bowl, toss the arugula with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and balsamic. Scatter the manchego and red peppers on top. Serve with the sardine mousse and enjoy!

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