This is an absolute gift in the run-up to Christmas (see what I did there?) because it can be whizzed it up in advance, wrapped and frozen. Then hey presto, you can magic up a quick starter or light lunch when you’re busy doing other things.
It’s fairly economical, too, smoked mackerel being as cheap as chips. Halving the quantities I give here will still provide a very generous pot of pâté. The original recipe came from the ever-reliable Katie Stewart and it’s one of my standbys because it’s always so popular.
It’s good with crusty bread and a pile of salad leaves for a quick lunch, or with melba toast or rye crackers as an appetiser. Spread onto smaller squares of toast or biscuits, or packed into lengths of celery (very ’70s retro) it makes an equally good canape. Versatile or what?
Easy Smoked Mackerel Pâté
4 medium fillets of smoked mackerel
200g room temperature butter (100g reserved to seal the pots)
200g cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1 heaped tspn concentrated tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh bay leaves
Skin the mackerel and flake the fish. Cube the butter. If you have a food processor, add the fish to the jug along with 100g of the butter and all the cream cheese, lemon juice and tomato puree. Whizz until blended but try to keep a little texture. Taste and add salt and pepper as required.
If you’re working by hand, flake the fish as before, then in a separate bowl cream 100g of the butter with the cream cheese. Mix in the fish and remaining ingredients (except the reserved butter) and season to taste.
Scrape into serving pots and level to a little below the top. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan (you may need a bit more, depending on the number and size of your pots) and if you can be bothered, clarify it by pouring the melted butter into a jug, leaving the milky solids behind in the pan. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t clarify it, if you’re pushed for time.
Gently press a bay leaf into the top of each pot of pate, then pour over the butter. Chill for at least three hours before eating. It’ll keep in the fridge, once sealed, for up to five days. Alternatively, wrap it well and freeze it for up to six weeks.