May 22, 2018
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Sardine Puffs a tribute to Maine’s lost sardine industry

By Sandy Oliver

In honor of our lost sardine industry, the last cannery having closed a year ago this month, here is another of the sardine recipes that some of you sent along.

Elyse DiDomenico, who summers with us, wrote, “I was tickled silly to see your request for sardine recipes.” It seems that her book group read John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row,” his reflections on living in a former sardine plant in California. “When we meet,” she said, “we match our supper cuisine to something related to the book we’ll discuss.” She successfully tried Sardine Puffs as an appetizer.

So I tried them, too. I have to say that I got funny looks when I passed them around at a supper party with friends. I said, “You don’t have to like them, I just want to know what you think,” and by gosh, my friends thought they were delicious, as I did, too. The recipe has a high yield, and I found that the sardine mixture keeps well in the fridge for a week.

On a whim, at the last minute, I tossed a tablespoonful of grainy mustard into the mix. They probably could stand a caper or two if you like them, and a garnish of additional parsley or lemon zest. Elyse’s recipe suggested 15 slices of crustless bread, each slice cut into eight triangles. I had gents in the company and I thought I better have more robust bread for the puffs, so I cut my bread into fourths. I think slices of baguette would be great, and so would cocktail-size rye or pumpernickel bread.

Sardine Puffs

15 slices bread, crusts trimmed

1 3.75 ounce can sardines

½ cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

1 tablespoon grainy mustard (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly toast bread and cut into pieces of your desired size. Mash sardines and mayonnaise together, then add onion, parsley and mustard, and mix well. Spread the mixture on each piece of toast and bake on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes until puffed and golden. Garnish as desired.

Makes 1 cup of spread.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

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