With a crunchy outside and a creamy inside, these canned sardine croquettes are my new summer craving. I serve them with a lemony yogurt dip, for a perfect mix of salty, tangy and smooth flavours.
Canned sardines are an institution in Brittany, France. The sardine fishing and canning is, and has always been, a flagship industry of towns along the Atlantic coast, where most canneries remain today. Most sardines are “preparées a l’ancienne” – which means made the old-fashion way. The sardines are first fried, then dried and finally canned, either in salted water, oil or with a mix of spices and pickled vegetables.
In most other countries, including Canada and the US, they are usually just canned and steamed afterwards (in the can), and left plain. Skipping the frying and drying process make the sardines a tiny less fragrant, but also more versatile and prone to be used for recipes, such as these one.
These canned sardine croquettes are a nice twist on the classic “acra de morue” – the traditional cod fritters from the French Antilles. Packed with flavor and good fats, the sardines are blended with white beans (instead of the usual potato), which make then even creamier inside.
They are meant to be served piping hot, with a simple lemon-coriander yogurt dip – so bright, fragrant and so smooth at the same time.
For the yogurt dip, people in France would use what we call “fromage blanc”. Fromage blanc is a thick, creamy, protein-packed version of a yogurt, half way between cottage cheese, cream cheese and yogurt. It is usually consumed for dessert and is super popular: you will likely find fromage blanc in every French household’s fridge.
And the French often use fromage blanc as a replacement for mayonnaise or cream-based dips. There is no real equivalent of fromage blanc in Canada or in the US, but I think that Greek yogurt is the most similar ingredient to use here. Swirled with lemon juice and herbs, it has the perfect texture for a dip, but stays satisfyingly creamy.
*Note: Canned sardines are usually packaged in oil or water. If they are in oil, add the oil from the can to your croquette mix. If they come in water, drain the sardines, discard the water and make sure to add at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mix.
*Note: If you are not a fan of coriander, dill will work great in this dish as well.
I hope you enjoy these Canned sardine croquettes salad with yogurt dip as much I do, Bon appétit!
Canned Sardine Croquettes Salad with Yogurt DipPrint This
For 8-9 croquettes:
1 can of sardines*
1 can cooked, plain white beans (300g)
½ sweet onion (such as vidalia), diced finely
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Yogurt dip:
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely
For the Salad:
Optional: Extra Virgin Olive oil for dressing
For the croquettes:
In a blender, place the sardines (roughly chopped), the white beans (drained), the onion (chopped), the Dijon mustard and the fresh coriander (chopped). Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until you get a finely-ground mixture (it should look like a paste).
With your clean hands, grab the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of the sardine mixture and shape it into a ball, the size of a golf ball. Repeat, and you should get at least 8 balls.
Prepare three small bowls: one with the flour, one with the eggs (beaten) and on with the breadcrumbs. Roll each ball into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Place all the breaded balls on a plate and set aside in the fridge.
(prepare the yogurt dip and your salad now, and cook the croquettes at the end, right before serving, so they are crisp and hot.)
In a large frying pan, heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook each sardine croquette for 2-2:30 minutes on each side, until they turn crisp and golden. Once done cooking, place the croquettes on a plate lined with paper towels (to absorb any excess oil).
For the yogurt dip:
Place the zest and the juice of ½ lemon in a small bowl. Add the chopped coriander, sour cream, Greek yogurt, a pinch of salt, a few pink peppercorns. Stir and set aside.
For dressing the salad:
Place two handful of arugula leaves on each plate, sprinkle some coriander leaves and a few crushed pink peppercorns on top. Season to your taste (salt, pepper and olive oil, if desired). Toss 4 to 5 sardine croquettes on top and serve with the yogurt dip (drizzle on top or served aside in a small ramekin.)