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