Portuguese Sardine Pate

Sardines abound in Portuguese waters and are one of the country’s most popular fish, with each person consuming an average of 5kg per year.

During Lisbon’s annual sardine festival the streets are filled with parties, parades and makeshift charcoal grilling stations, cooking so many sardines that about 13 are eaten every second of the festival.

Chef Jose Silva says: “Paté de sardinha, olives and bread are always on the table when you walk into a restaurant in Portugal, even before you order.”

I make my Portuguese sardine pate with artisanal Aussie sardines, caught and preserved in South Australia by the Little Tin Co. (you’ll find stockists listed on their website).

I serve it with olives and another favourite Portuguese snack, lupine (tremoço in Portuguese), which are eaten by squeezing the bean out of the outer skin that’s then discarded – and a glass of rosé.

Join me and chef Jose Silva for a Portuguese feast at his Petersham restaurant, Lunas, later this month – details here.

Serves: 2-4 as a snack


1 x 110g can sardines in oil

50g butter, softened

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

squeeze lemon juice

olives, lupine and bread, for serving


Drain the sardines, gently rub off as much skin as possible and discard the bones.

Place sardine meat in a bowl with butter, oil and paprika and mash to form a coarse paste.

Taste and add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Find a print-friendly version of this recipe here as well as a step-by-step video of another Portuguese classic, piri-piri sauce.

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Do you like sardines? How do you like to eat them? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: Baked Spatchcock with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

Roberta Muir
Roberta Muirhttps://beinspired.au/
Roberta Muir loves making it easy for home cooks to explore new cuisines and ingredients and sharing her passion for cooking, eating, drinking and travelling. She’s a recipe writer, cooking teacher, and author of four cookbooks including the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook. Find more of her inspiration at BeInspired.au
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