skip to Main Content

Avocado and Sardine Toasts and a giveaway

OK, now for those of you who say you don’t like canned sardines, don’t tune me out yet. Because maybe you’ve never eaten canned sardines as good as these. They’re called pilchards in England (just another name for a large sardine) and come from the Cornwall region.  These, from The Pilchard Works, are caught off the shores of Cornwall and are hand-packed and canned in the traditional way in partnership with the oldest sardine cannery in Brittany, France. The lids of the tins are works of art, with reproductions of paintings by Newlyn School painters, Walter Langley and Frank Bramley.

I brought some home with me from my trip to Cornwall last fall, and was surprised at how much better they were than the ones I buy in the supermarkets here. So much so, that I asked my ex-pat daughter to bring some tins for me on her recent business trip from London to New York.

I am a big fan of fresh sardines and anchovies but it’s not easy to find them fresh here in the states. Canned sardines were always in our pantry when I was growing up and my 96 year-old father, who is still in good health, eats them in sandwiches regularly.

Not only do they taste delicious, they’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re packed with nutrients that are good for you, including vitamin D, B12 and protein. They also contain one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, and they help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

I’m hoping that those of you who have turned up your nose at eating sardines in the past will give these a try. All you have to do to receive a tin of these from me, is to leave a comment stating why you like sardines and how you eat them. If you don’t like them (maybe especially if you don’t like them),  I’ll send you a tin too, because I’d really love to convert you to becoming a sardine aficionado.  Just leave a way for me to contact you.

This recipe from Paula Wolfert, really is a delicious blending of flavors that I would never have thought to put together, but I will be making again and again. Even my husband, who rarely eats either avocado or canned sardines, raved about the combination. I hope you’ll try it too.

Avocado and Sardine Toasts
From the Book "Unforgettable" by Emily Kaiser Thelin
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 scant tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 (4½ ounce) cans whole sardines (I used one can)
  • 1 large firm, ripe Hass avocado
  • 4 to 6 thin slices country-style bread (I used 3 slices)
  • 4 green onions (I used one), white and green parts, cut into very thin slices
  • fresh chives, snipped
  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parsley and vinegar.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Divide the sardines into fillets and discard any bones.
  4. Add the sardines to the vinaigrette and marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Cut the avocado in half and peel away the skin.
  6. Put it on a cutting board and cut the avocado into thin slices.
  7. Toast or grill the bread.
  8. Lightly brush the top side of each toast with the vinaigrette.
  9. Divide the avocado slices among the toasts, top with a portion of the sardines, and scatter green onions and chives on top.
  10. Serve at once.

N7’s Seared Scallops With Chive Oil

N7’s Seared Scallops with Chive Oil

A trip to New Orleans is always difficult for a food lover. Difficult in a good way, because there are so many talented chefs in the Big Easy, offering wonderful options ranging from Creole dishes to traditional Southern favorites to nouvelle fusion.
N7, labeled the country’s tenth best restaurant in 2016 by Bon Appétit magazine, fits the last description.
The food speaks with a definite French accent, and the restaurant’s name, N7, is a reference to the mythic road that ran from Paris to the border of Italy (now upgraded or replaced by the A77 autoroute).
Finding your way along a French road that was the equivalent of America’s Route 66 might be slightly easier than finding the restaurant N7, tucked away on Montegut Street, off of St. Claude Avenue in the city’s funky, hip Bywater neighborhood.
You might easily pass the entrance if you’re not looking for the red stenciled sign on a wooden doorway leading to N7’s courtyard.
Once inside, you can’t miss the red Citroen taking a prime spot along the gravel driveway.
 Much of the seating is outdoors, in a courtyard outfitted with casual style tables and chairs, surrounded by potted plants and vines.
But there is some seating indoors in a structure that at one time housed a tire shop, and long before that, a stable. Sitting at the bar now though, you might be convinced that you were in a bistro in Paris’ Marais neighborhood.
 The food whispers with other culinary accents too, like the oysters from Washington State, served with a sauce redolent of soy sauce — not unusual since the restaurant is owned by Japanese born Yuki Yamaguchi, and her husband, filmmaker Aaron Walker.
 Nearly half the menu is “can to table” seafood – which could be off putting to many. But in some European countries, particularly Spain, canned fish is a delicacy sought after as eagerly as fresh seafood.
We dug in with gusto to the sardines, swishing our bread through the can to glob on to every last bit of the sundried tomato sauce.
And after a squirt of lemon, the octopus in olive oil was gone in a flash too, accompanied by herb butter and a piquant red pepper paste.
The menu, although limited, does contain a few cooked items, such as the seared scallops with chive oil, pictured in the first photo. It was our favorite dish of the night (recipe below).
Another winner was the pork katsu with beet purée. The pork is dredged in flour, egg and finally panko (Japanese bread crumbs), then fried in hot oil and sliced. It rests on a luscious purée made with beets, apples, chicken broth and a little cream and yogurt.
 We also tried the duck breast a l’orange, again prepared with a hint of soy sauce in addition to the more traditional ingredients such as orange zest and orange juice.
 Desserts are very limited but seemed just right. Choose either French macaron cookies (not pictured) or the cheese plate, which contained three cheeses – a sweet gorgonzola, a sheep’s milk cheese and a creamy cow’s milk cheese. A few dried figs, cherries and nuts rounded out the platter.
 As night descended and the tables filled, lights twinkled around the perimeter of the courtyard.
Is it really the most romantic French restaurant in the world, as Bon Appétit claims?
I’m not so sure I buy that moniker, but it sure won over our hearts and I know we’ll be visiting N7 again the next time we’re in New Orleans.
 And if you’d like to take a real trip to Europe and a dreamy part of Italy, join me for a memoir writing retreat at Villa Monastero, in Varenna overlooking Lake Como. Only a couple of spots remain. You don’t have to be a professional writer to participate. Life is short, so don’t delay your dream. For more information, go to or email me.
Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.

You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.


Seared Scallops with Chive Oil
From N7 Restaurant, New Orleans via Bon Appetit magazine


4 Servings

Chive Oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Scallops and Assembly

  • 16 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Finely grated Gruyère (for serving)


Chive Oil

Purée garlic, chives, salt, and oil in a blender until smooth.
Do Ahead: Chive oil can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.


potatoes in a medium pot and pour in cold water to cover by 1″. Add 2
tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are
very tender but still hold their shape, 15–20 minutes (boiling will
cause potatoes to become waterlogged). Drain and pass hot potatoes
through a ricer (or use a masher) into a large bowl (do this right away;
cold potatoes will become gummy when mashed). Add cream and butter to
potatoes and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined and
mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Scallops and assembly

scallops dry with paper towels; season both sides with kosher salt.
Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high. Cook
half of scallops, undisturbed, until deep golden and caramelized, about 3
minutes. Turn and cook until barely golden on second side and just
cooked through, about 2 minutes. Repeat process with remaining 1 Tbsp.
oil and remaining scallops.
Top mashed potatoes with Gruyère and drizzle scallops with chive oil.