Sardine Rillettes

Sardine Rillettes

Oolala. Say the word "sardines" around people and you get one of two reactions. Either they love them... or they don't. I haven't found many inbetweeners. Obviously, given the title of this recipe, we fall in the "love them" camp. As in seriously love them. Fresh sardines, canned sardines, heck, I'll even happily eat sardine sushi. Growing up we always had several cans in the pantry. Sardines packed in olive oil, packed in mustard, or packed in tomato paste. Must have something to do with my father's Minnesota roots. We also had pickled herring and if we were lucky, smoked dried herring in the fridge. (You think sardines are strong? You should try smoked dried herring!) So when Dorie Greenspan had a recipe for sardine rillettes in her fabulous cookbook, Around My French Table, I couldn't wait to try it. So. Darn. Good! I've made these several times and everyone loves them. Think a cross between a tuna spread and caviar.

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Spanish Roasted Potatoes with Tomato Sauce

Spanish Roasted Potatoes with Tomato Sauce

Called papas bravas or patatas bravas in Spain, this dish is essentially potatoes cooked in a spicy sauce and served as an appetizer, or tapas. Variations abound in both the cooking method?the potatoes are fried, boiled or roasted?and the sauce, which usually has hot chiles, tomato and vinegar. The name of the recipe roughly translates into "fierce" or "angry" potatoes. But these potatoes are as spicy or "fierce" as you make them. We've made ours with some tomato sauce, quite a bit of Tabasco, and some smoked paprika. The potatoes absorb a lot of heat, so they're not as hot as you would think, given the amount of hot sauce. You can easily reduce the heat to taste. The smoked paprika called for in the recipe really helps these potatoes shine, but sometimes it can be hard to find. McCormick makes smoked paprika, so you may be able to find it at your local supermarket. If not, just substitute regular paprika (sweet).

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Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj)

Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj)

Updated, from the recipe archive. Originally posted in 2005.

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, the eggplant season is in full swing. At our local farmers market last weekend one could find eggplants of every variety - globe, Japanese, striped, white, even eggplants that looked like tomatoes. I have a couple still on the vine, after picking the one used for this recipe that was just begging to be eaten. Here is a wonderful recipe for baba ghanouj (also spelled baba ghanoush) a middle eastern eggplant dip. It is typically served with pita bread.

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