Everyone needs a quick, easy to make canapé recipe, especially at this time of year. This Smoked Mackerel Pâté takes minutes to whizz up together and is endlessly versatile; it can be spread it on some thin oven toasted slices of baguette, topped it with grated cheese and grilled – super easy and really tasty too. Or, if you don’t want to be bothered with heating them up, you could just top the baguette toasts with the Mackerel Pâté, place half of a pitted black olive and a sprinkle of parsley on top and voila!
If you are having a buffet style table of nibbles, you can also serve the pâté in a bowl, surrounded by slices of baguette. I’ve often served it as a casual starter when I’ve had friends round for supper during the week. Everyone gathers round the table with a drink, to chat and whet their appetites on this pâté while I get on with finishing off the main attraction.
My version includes a little heat from chilli flakes and a warm spicy note from dry roasted cumin seeds – both work so well with the smoky mackerel and the sharpness of the lemon. You can change the spicing to suit your palate, of course.
Smoked Mackerel Pâté
- 3 fillets (approximately 300 – 350g in total) of smoked and peppered mackerel with the skin removed
- 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- zest and juice of a lemon (unwaxed) Use half the juice to start with and only add more after you have tasted the pâté, if it needs it.
- 2 Tbsp half fat creme fraiche
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- Baguette cut into ½ cm slices and toasted on a tray in the oven
- A little grated cheddar cheese
- Break the mackerel into large chunks and place all the ingredients (using just half of the lemon juice to start with) into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Try and keep some of the texture rather than reducing it to a homogenous paste.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary – you may need more lemon.
- Scrape into a container and refrigerate until needed.
- Then, turn on the grill/broiler.
- Cover the slices of baguettine with the pâté, top with a little grated cheddar and place on a baking sheet. Grill/broil until bubbly and browned.
The Smoked Mackerel Pâté also very nice cold topped with a slice of olive, and as a casual starter with a baguette.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I see from my notes that I have been making this Smoked Mackerel Gratin for nearly 10 years now. I first made it because I wanted to introduce more of those Omega-3 fatty acids into our diet and it was such a hit with J who would have been 6 years old at that time, that I have been making it regularly ever since. Smoked fish and cream is a food marriage made in heaven. With the addition of potatoes, mustard and herbs this dish becomes a quick, intensely savoury, mid-week meal which only needs a sharply dressed green salad, cutting through the richness, to round it off.
It is an inexpensive dish to boot and very easy to make;
Flake the fish into an oven proof dish
Cover with cooked potatoes
- Make the creamy, mustardy, herb flecked sauce
- Pour sauce over fish and potatoes
Strew with grated cheddar and bake for 20/25 minutes
Intensely savoury, smoky, and creamy deliciousness.
You could add a scattering of halved cherry tomatoes before covering it with cheese and you could also add a layer of fresh spinach leaves (which you have run under a tap to make wet) under the fish in which case you should increase the milk by about a 1/4 cup.
The smoked mackerel is quite salty as is the cheese so you shouldn’t need any additional salt.
Smoked Mackerel Gratin
Inspired by Nigel Slater
- 4 smoked mackerel fillets
- 8 small potatoes halved
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
- 1 heaped tsp grain mustard
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 50g grated cheddar cheese
- A little butter or oil to grease the oven proof dish.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and lightly grease the oven proof dish.
- Place potatoes and garlic in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. The potatoes should give way to a knife but not be falling apart. Drain and remove the garlic.
- Peel off the skin and flake the mackerel into the dish, carefully pulling out any bones which have been left behind. Leave the fish in quite large chunks if you can.
- Whisk the creme fraiche then stir in the mustard and whisk again. Mash in the soft garlic and slowly whisk in the milk and stir in the herbs.
- Cover the fish with the hot potatoes, then pour over the crème fraîche mixture and top with the grated cheese and a grinding of pepper.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
Serve with a mustardy dressed green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.