Smoked Mackerel Pate

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Smoked mackerel paté with toasted pitta

If you’ve never tried making smoked mackerel paté before, I’m going to have to insist that you do so immediately. We’re not going to get into that boring debate on whether it is actually paté here, because it’s irrelevant. If you like smoked fish, you will love this. As an added bonus, in case you need convincing, it takes less than five minutes to make. Perfect for those days when you have little time to make dinner and can’t face perusing the chilled pizza aisle in the supermarket yet again.

My in-laws have this brilliant way of doing lunch where every leftover from the fridge is put out on the kitchen table, along with some fresh bread, cheeses and this incredible salami they always seem to have in the house, and everybody helps themselves. Yes, you often end up with a few random things on your plate, but it is a great way of using everything up. Every time I visit I am inspired to do a similar thing at home instead of hotfooting it down to the local bakery for one of their prosciutto sandwiches, for I always have so many leftovers. This weekend, I finally achieved this, with the smoked mackerel pate as the centrepiece.

Depending on how many people you have to feed, this paté will stretch across more than one sitting. You can eat it as I do, by smearing it onto torn-off bits of hot toasted pitta; or as my husband does, in a sandwich with rocket and thinly sliced radishes. Once it’s on the table with your array of other lunch items, people can do with it as they please.

If I can get it, I tend to use the whole smoked mackerels you can buy from a fishmonger. We have two great ones here in south east London; Moxons in East Dulwich and F. C. Soper in Nunhead. The former has a range of smoked fish, including trout and Arbroath Smoakies, both of which I have used to make paté in the past. If I can’t get to a fishmonger, I use the pre-prepared smoked mackerel fillets you can buy in the supermarket. If you do this, just be sure to buy the ones without the pepper crust. Controversially, I have added parsley instead of dill to my paté; which I discovered I liked better when cooking for a friend who had an aversion to anise. I have also added horseradish, but do leave it out or adjust the amounts if you aren’t keen.

Smoked Mackerel Pate

Two whole smoked mackerel, or four fillets
75g sour cream
175g cream cheese
3 tsp horseradish sauce
Sea salt and black pepper
½ tsp lemon juice
Small handful finely chopped parsley

Skin the mackerel fillets and flake the flesh into a food processor, being careful to check for any bones. Add the sour cream and cream cheese and pulse a couple of times. You want the mixture to be blended, but not puréed.

Transfer to a bowl and add the horseradish. I would usually add this a teaspoon at a time, tasting after each one, as horseradish sauces vary in strength. Add salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste then, finally, stir in the parsley.

One year ago: Kale, Spinach and Spring Onion Potato Cakes

Other things you can put out on a lunch table from More than Just Toast:
Bacon, cheddar and spring onion cornbread
Homemade baked beans
Cherry tomato, prosciutto and ricotta frittata
Egg salad with capers and dill

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