Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Smoked Mackerel Pate Recipe

There we have it, folks – to all intents and purposes, Christmas is over for another year, though I do hope that each and every one of your trees will remain erect until the 6th of January. Of course, this means that it is no longer reasonable to post any further overtly festive recipes. Still, there’s no reason at all why you shouldn’t set eyes on one or two of the treats that found their way to the table on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Indeed, this recipe for smoked mackerel pâté is rather spectacular.

Mackerel is a much maligned fish, castigated for the exceedingly fishy nature of its flavour – an odd criticism to level against a fish. It seems a little unfair to attack an ingredient for being too much like itself… how overly human. However, your saviour may have just emerged if you do subscribe to this strange prejudice – the crème fraîche in this smoked mackerel pâté succeeds somewhat in offsetting the fishiness of the mackerel. It allows the fish to regain a little of its subtlety and gifts the dill and lemon a chance to shine on through.

Smoked Mackerel Pate Recipe

This pâté is slightly different from the set variation (chicken liver pâté for instance), in that it is a lot softer and easier to spread. In my opinion, this makes it far more suited for use as an aperitif, purely because it is lighter and is unlikely to impact on one’s enjoyment of the main culinary event. There are a few smoked mackerel pâté recipes that do tend toward the set variety, but these should be largely ignored – the texture simply doesn’t suit the delicacy of fish. Also, one ought to refrain from adding too much crème fraîche or cream, since a sloppy pâté is almost as regrettable as a hard one!

For those of you who missed my Christmas 2012 recipes, please visit my Facebook page, or retreat to the main page of FrugalFeeding!

Also, if you’d like a recipe that makes good use of intact smoked mackerel, why not try this smoked mackerel risotto?

Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Makes 2 large ramekins


• 3 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned

• 2 heaped tbsp full-fat crème fraîche

• 100g cream cheese

• 1 tsp horseradish sauce

• A small handful of fresh dill

• The juice of half a lemon

• Pepper


1. Throw all of the ingredients together in a food processor and blend until reasonably smooth. However, it’s nice if some larger chunks of mackerel remain.

Smoked Mackerel Pate Recipe

2. Serve as a dip, or spread onto bruschetta along with a sprig of dill for each.

Smoked Mackerel Pate Recipe

Cost: Smoked mackerel is a relatively cheap, but wonderfully flavoursome source of protein – in fact it is one of my favourite meats. Given that this recipe yields two large ramekins full of pâté, the price of £3 for both is entirely frugal and far less than any shop-bought smoked mackerel pâté of equivalent quality.

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52 comments on “Smoked Mackerel Pâté

  1. For The Love of Food
    December 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    YUM I just got my husband a smoker for Christmas, one of the things Im looking forward to the most is smoking fish! Can’t wait to try this!

  2. petitedecadence
    December 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    This looks like a perfect recipe for a small bite while lounging on the beach…..which I am sadly not doing! But I’ll keep it for the next time I do get the chance!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      OH it is 😀 – it’s perfect for a lot of situations 😀

  3. daryouchka
    December 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Oh how I love Smoked mackerel and its fishy-ness! I frequently make a similar kind of spread, and it is much appreciated. I am sure yours was a great success!

  4. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    December 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm


  5. countrywoodsmoke
    December 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    A cracking recipe this, looks and tastes amazing, I do very similar to this recipe regularly and it’s always popular
    Thanks for an inspiring blog, and sharing your frugal recipes this last year.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks, Marcus! Thanks so much for reading them.

  6. narf77
    December 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I am a vegan…I don’t even EAT smoked mackerel…why on EARTH am I saving this recipe?! I am saving it because we too have a smoker…Steve is just starting to enjoy pootling about on the river in his dinghy…the next step is casually tossing a line into the river to attempt to catch some of the elusive flathead that is such a delicious sweet white fish…and the stage after that is what to do with a glut of a newly addicted fisherman’s catch when you have exhausted “simple pan fried” and “egg and crumbed”…and smoking and pates are the next step…again, a “must save” recipe! My recipe folder now has 3.05Gig of word documents and saved PDF’s in it…no small feat but definately because of amazing blogs like this one. Thank you again for your wonderful, simple, soul food recipes and thank you in advance for this lovely looking pate that I can use with the cocky salmon (the overflow young salmon that they toss into the river because they are over their quota at the fish farm and that are quite simply the easiest thing to catch if you navigate your small aluminium dinghy around near said fish farm… 😉 ) that Steve will no doubt be bringing home by the bucketfull with the maniacal addicted eyes of the fishing “converted” 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Haha – silly! that’s so exciting! That’s such a lot of recipes – so glad I feature within!

  7. Mona
    December 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm


  8. cecilia
    December 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    What an excellent and simple idea.. I love smoked fish.. these would be fine for the New Years Eve UnParty! c

  9. foodisthebestshitever
    December 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    That’s looking good. And that comment comes from a man who is not at all interested in fish pâté!!

  10. alternative eating
    December 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Never thought about using the smoked mackerel for this:) 🙂 I will give it a try:) Sounded so good:)

  11. Textbooks and Tea Cakes
    December 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve never been a big fan of pâtés in general (bad experience with the French, I’m afraid), but this looks so lovely! I like that it is light and soft…much better for pâté, in my opinion.


  12. elizabethranger
    December 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    yum, yum, and yum. so THIS is what to do with smoked mackeral! I’ve bought it before and not gone beyond particular pungent cheese sandwiches, but this makes complete sense. And I totally feel you on pates at this time of year – I’m itching to make one for new years, although probably a pork liver classic. (then again, if I get my hands on some fish…. )

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Oh yes, though there are other applications… give it a whirl!

  13. Pride in Photos Photography
    December 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Beautiful…love to find new appetizers.
    Happy New Years.

  14. pixi
    December 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

    ahhhhh, my mum used to make this for parties back in the day, its one of my early food memories. Thanks for the blast from the past.

  15. baconbiscuit212
    December 30, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I am one of those weirdos who can’t seem to work up much enthusiasm for small oily fish. I know! I’m a bad foodie!!!

    But I like small oily fish smoked. And this looks like a perfect little New Year’s canape 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Haha – BAD DAISY! but yes, it’s wonderful smoked.

      • baconbiscuit212
        January 8, 2013 at 12:59 am

        I know. I wish I could do the small, oily fish thing. I just have so much trouble getting it to stay down!

  16. abrooke65
    December 30, 2012 at 2:31 am

    This looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I used to work as a fish monger and a lot of people overlooked the poor mackerel for, like you said, the paradox of it being too like itself. I love it though. My brother has a smoker and I will persuade him to help me out with this over the weekend.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      that’s a shame – it’s a wonderful fish.

  17. PolaM
    December 30, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Sounds delicious! A great addition to a fishplates for an appetizer!

  18. thehungrylinguists
    December 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    That looks delicious! Smoked mackerel is a delight, it’s great to see new things to do with it.

  19. Smedette
    December 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the great year of recipes.

    Happy New Year!

  20. leamuse
    December 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    It sounds lovely! I shall have to give it a try.
    Thanks for visiting one of my blogs. I am glad you enjoyed today’s post. Perhaps one day you will visit my other blog.

  21. Michelle
    December 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    “It seems a little unfair to attack an ingredient for being too much like itself… how overly human.” What a great line!

  22. cestgigi
    December 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    You talked me into it! I am not usually one to read the ‘back story’ of a dish, but you write about them so well, I did!

  23. petit4chocolatier
    December 31, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Gorgeously delicious!

  24. Somer
    December 31, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Funny about fish being called too fishy! How do you do it Nick? You even make pate look pretty… 🙂

  25. trampstudent
    December 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Mackerel is so cheap, but great for the price. I make it into chowder instead of smoked haddock:

  26. originalapplejunkie
    January 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I love smoked mackerel pâté! I’ve never tried making it before though..

  27. Taissa
    January 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I got a hand blender for Christmas. Can see this becoming a staple. Nice one!

  28. tifoli
    January 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I am going to try to make this one. Looks so good!

  29. sannekurz
    January 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Ah! Delicious – and finally a new idea for the smoked mackerel left over in the fridge from New Years!

  30. rayandskye
    January 2, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I’ve been buying the tins of smoked trout from Trader Joe’s lately. I bet that would be a good sub if I can’t find mackerel. This sounds delicious!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Sounds like a good idea, though I don’t eat tinned fish.

  31. Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
    January 4, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I have featured this recipe on my blog for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link:

  32. Rogier
    March 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Were I come from mackerel is considered a delicacy. In stark contrast, when I was in New Zealand, the only mackerel available was pre-cooked canned mackerel. Such a waste of such fine taste.

    Most tasty mackerel is steamed or lightly smoked. When it is steamed, is has a soft and rich taste. When smoked it has a more distinctive taste. And when it is fresh and backed in butter, it’s pure define.

    I like the recipe. I use it for canned fish like tuna. A hint of garlic is can be a nice addition.

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