Tuna or Sardine Fish Pâté: A Taste of Portugal

These two easy Portuguese fish pâté recipes are loaded with flavour and are fantastic for entertaining. They can be made ahead and frozen, then set out as part of a charcuterie platter or appetizer selection, or just used for a comforting spread on crackers or warm toast on a Sunday morning. The sardine pâté is a great way to get more omega-3 rich oily fish into your diet. (Skip to recipes.)

two simple tubs of fish pate - loaded with flavour and a great appetizer option

Bet ya didn’t realize you can turn a simple can of sardines or tuna into an amazing umami appetizer in just a couple of minutes, did ya?

When I found out we were visiting Portugal for this month’s Eat the World Challenge, I was instantly transported back to our wonderful trip there last year. Memories of the bustling city of Porto, where I bought the tablecloth in the photo above at a street market, where the rabelo boats bob in the river next to the quayside cafés, where winding streets are crammed with tall buildings dressed in multicoloured tiled splendor, where platters of tender octopus tempt your nostrils and your palate, where the air smells of a bygone era when this seaport bustled with salty sailors, loaded port barrels, and rich history.

fish pate; Portuguese riverfront

buildings along the ribiera (riverfront) in Porta

fish pate; fish vendor gutting fish at the market

watching her hands fly as she guts the fish with ease at the market

fish pate; busy ribiera

fish pate; sunset in Porto

the setting sun gilds the riverfront port lodges

fish pate; octopus platter

a plate or tender octopus with potatoes was a regular treat

A few hours inland, we spent a few days in the breathtakingly beautiful Douro Valley, the famous wine growing region of Portugal.

fish pate; the Douro valley's stunning views

stunning views in the Douro valley

fish pate; Douro Valley vineyards

vineyards everywhere

Wherever we stopped for a meal, one of the nicest touches was a small tray that would arrive as soon as we sat down. On it was usually a little crock of some delicious paste, a few slices of beautiful crusty fresh bread, and a little bowl of olives, maybe a few other little bits and pieces of tasty delights. (We soon discovered that, of course you did have to pay for it when your bill came, but still – a  welcoming touch.) And it all went really well with a class of chilled vino verde, the fresh, green Portuguese wine with a slight bubble and relatively low alcohol – perfect for a hot sunny lunchtime meal under a shady umbrella.

I had no idea what the pastes on those plates were (some kind of seafood, usually) until I came home and did some research. Then when I found out how easy they are to make . . . . well.

If you’ve been meaning to eat more fish, especially oily fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, then sardines are your uncle! These little fish pack a mighty punch in healthy fats, and this is a delicious way to get them. And if you’re not planning any entertaining right away, I tell you, a slice of warm toast slathered with a thick blanket of fish pâté melting into it is a little slice of umami heaven. It’s unbelievable how much flavour is packed into something so simple (and if you’re worried about fishy taste, rest assured it is totally transformed – like magic. There’s just a rich flavour that melds perfectly with the warm crunchy bread).

fish pate from tuna and sardines are a great way to eat more healthy fish

Got a Minute? Let’s Whip up our Fish Pâté!

Here’s all the ingredients you’ll need to whip up both kinds of pâté – the sardine one and the tuna one.

all the ingredients to make fish pate

(Ooops, brain fart! I just realized I forgot to put the butter in the photo – so imagine there are a couple sticks of butter tucked in with these ingredients.)

Pop all the ingredients into your food processor or even jut put them in a bowl and use a stick blender.

toss all the ingredients for the fish pate into your food processor

this one’s the sardine pâté

In a few seconds you’ve got this smooth buttery paste loaded with umami flavour.

sardine fish pate in the food processor

Pack it into a crock, and serve it with fresh bread and olives for a truly Portuguese treat.

little crock of sardine fish pate served as an appetizer with bread and olives

spreading some fish pate

And if you have any left over (not if I’m around), you can pack the fish pâté  into a smaller container and freeze it for a rainy day.

pack up the fish pate to freeze

Or plop it onto a square of plastic food wrap or parchment paper, roll it up, twist the ends, then pop the log into a freezer bag and freeze it. That way you can just slice off as much as you need from the frozen log and keep the rest frozen; perfect for spreading a bit on your morning toast!

put some fish pate onto a square of plastic wrap

these rolls of fish pâté are ready for the freezer

Now isn’t that handy? You’re ready for entertaining any time. Let the fish pâté logs come to room temperature and you’ve got a luxurious buttery spread for crackers or bread.

fish pâté from tuna and sardines are a great way to eat more healthy fish

And you can pretend you’re in Porto, sitting at a table under an umbrella beside to the Douro River, sipping on a glass of vino verde while watching the rabelos bobbing next to the quay.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Make sure you use a good quality tuna packed in oil, and if making the sardine pâté, try making it with smoked sprats or sardines, too. Yummy. If your cans of sardines or tuna are bigger or smaller than in the recipe below, just use a bit more or less butter in ratio to the fish.

Depending on how chilled your butter is, these pâtés can be more firm or more soft and spreadable.

*The bread in these photos is Gluten-Free Deli Style Sourdough Bread by Schär – really quite delicious.

Portuguese tuna pâté and sardine pate

Tuna Pâté

  • ½ cup (113gms) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tin (104 grams drained weight) best quality oil-packed tuna (I like Rio mare brand), drained
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon mild smoked paprika
  • pinch of piri piri seasoning or cayenne pepper

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or mini chopper and blend to a smooth paste. Alternately you can use a handheld blender.

Pack into a small crock. Keeps refrigerated for 4 to 5 days, but remove from the fridge to come to room temperature well before using.

Makes 1 cup.

Portuguese tuna pâté also freezes well for 3 months.  Pack into an airtight container to freeze, or scrape the pâté onto a piece of plastic food wrap or parchment paper and roll it into a cylinder, twisting the ends. Then store the cylinder in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Slice off a portion as needed and allow to defrost before using.

 

Sardine Pâté

  • ½ cup (113gms) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tin (120gms) oil-packed sardines (Portuguese if possible), drained
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon mild smoked paprika
  • pinch of piri piri seasoning or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Place all ingredients but the parsley into a food processor or mini chopper and blend to a smooth paste. Alternately you can use a handheld blender. Add the parsley and pulse just to combine.

Pack into a small crock. Keeps refrigerated for 4 to 5 days, but remove from the fridge to come to room temperature well before using.

Makes 1 cup.

Portuguese sardine pâté also freezes well for 3 months.  Pack into an airtight container to freeze or scrape the pâté onto a piece of plastic food wrap or parchment paper and roll it into a cylinder, twisting the ends. Then store the cylinder in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Slice off a portion as needed and allow to defrost before using.

Guten Appetit!

 

Check out all the wonderful Portuguese dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Sue at Palatable Pastime:Air-Fryer Peri Peri Chicken Wings
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Less than Traditional Pastéis de Bacalhau (Salt Cod Fritters)
Making Miracles: Portuguese Vina Dosh
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Bitoque (Portuguese Steak & Eggs)
Kitchen Frau: Portuguese Tuna or Sardine Fish Pâté
CulturEatz: Portuguese Pasteis de Nata
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Broa (Portuguese Corn Bread)
Pandemonium Noshery: Portugese Tremocos Beans
Sneha at Sneha’s Recipe: Chicken Cataplana
Loreto and Nicoletta: Home Style Portuguese Shrimp and Chorizo

 

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Umami flavor, healthy omega-3s, easy appetizer, Portuguese fish pate is a delicious treat.

Check out my past ‘Eat the World’ Recipe Challenge posts:

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10 Responses to Tuna or Sardine Fish Pâté: A Taste of Portugal

  1. Wendy Klik says:

    Pate is always a welcome addition to a charcuterie platter. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lucia says:

    These look amazing! Looking forward to trying them, and the soup you posted recently. Thanks so much for sharing delightful recipes, your travel photos and experiences, and – especially – your beautiful writing. Blessings!

    • Margaret says:

      It’s so nice to know I have a cyberfriend out there! Thank you for your lovely comment and for stopping by to read my blog. It’s such fun for me, and makes it more enjoyable yet when I hear from readers.

  3. Evelyne says:

    Wow this is such cools recipes. I definitely will try. I only went to Lisbon and Sintra. Can’t wait to go back!

    • Margaret says:

      Portugal has some magic about it, doesn’t it? I just cannot wait to go back either. Definitely want to explore Lisbon next time, and spend some time on the beaches of the Algarve, too. And of course, eat more of that fantastic food!

  4. sneha datar says:

    I love this fish pate, it has an amazing color too!

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