Lemony Sardine Pâté
The laziness in me is obviously a fan, too. Because if you keep a can of little fish in the cabinets, and have a lemon in your fruit bowl for French 75s, and leftover thyme from a fall-flavored shepherd’s pie, you have everything you need to whip up a quick and unexpectedly elegant little snack when friends came over. This was out on the coffee table with two fat wedges of cheese, and I dare say––with much surprise––it was the most popular nibble on offer.
And what better time to debut my little fishies table runner! For years I’ve admired the classic Sill (or Blue Herring) print fabric from Almedahls but never bought it. Do you ever do that? I put off buying something I truly love or really need, checking in on it online, or searching for it again and again on Ebay with no purchase ever taking place. If it’s not a matter of not having room in the budget, then why? Perhaps, a friend once suggested, it’s a way of punishing ourselves with a pinch of denial. Blasted Puritan roots! Well, lately I have been in the kind of full-on pleasure mode that would send John Adams reeling, buying beautiful versions of the things we need: a reading lamp for my nook, new napkins, a soft throw over the back of a chair. As my friend Amy recently wrote, you will never regret buying the best version of a practical thing. And I’d raise her: you will never regret buying a beautiful thing that you use every day. A cheerful sheet set, a little bud vase in a just-so shade of blue, a spoon that makes morning oatmeal a delight. Our purchases need not be expensive (though sometimes, like the bike of your dreams, they can be), but it brings vast amounts of pleasure and a prepared feeling of togetherness to know, yes, I have a set of eight matching napkins for dinner, a blanket for my friend’s shoulders when she sits in front of our drafty window, and the right light to curl up with the last pages of Little Women. In my two weeks of ownership, I’ve reaped $36 worth of pleasure from the spare graphic design of this runner draped across our table, and it’s the kind of thing we can take with us, wherever we call home.
Lemony Sardine Pate
makes 1 cup
2 cans sardines in olive oil, about 4 oz each
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or sweet or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Put all ingredient, even sardine oil, in a food processor. Blend until you get a somewhat smooth paste. Taste and add salt and black pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving.