Smoked mackerel pâté

Smoked mackerel pateHere’s a quick, easy snack or starter for you. Smoked mackerel pâté is a classy take on a humble ingredient and is absolutely delicious with seeded crisp bread or, even better, hot toast. Pumpernickel bread also goes well. It is the perfect way to use up the end of a packet of smoked mackerel.

I always used to make it with cream cheese and curly parsley, but in looking for a recipe found options with ricotta or fromage frais, which make a lighter pâté, and complement the flavour of the mackerel perfectly. If you’re using horseradish you’ll need the grated hot horseradish that you can get in a jar (or fresh, of course), rather than horseradish cream, which won’t give you that kick of flavour.

150g smoked mackerel fillets
100g fromage frais or ricotta
3 tbsps double or sour cream or crème fraîche
1 tsp horseradish (optional)
a good squeeze of lemon juice
black pepper
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Lemon wedges, watercress or capers to garnish (optional)

Carefully skin the mackerel fillets and check for any stray bones. Break up into a bowl and mash with a fork. Beat in the fromage frais or ricotta, then the cream and horseradish. Season to taste with lemon juice and black pepper – I think it needs quite a lot of both – and stir in the parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, and watercress or capers are nice as a garnish too.

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