Sunday, 8 April 2018

Smoked mackerel pâté

A delicious pâté which is also great to use as a dip for crudités.

This has to be one of the tastiest fish pâtés! It's great for entertaining as a simple, prepare-ahead starter served with some home-made melba toast (see tips), or for dipping sticks of cucumber, peppers, carrot etc. as a healthy, low-carb snack - see bottom of tips for suggestions with calories: you can have a lovely selection of vegetables for one for less than 60 calories! 

If you want to lower the fat content, you can use lighter cream cheese and substitute the creme fraiche for Greek yoghurt.

This amount will serve four people as a light starter, or two gannets! (It will basically over-fill two decent sized ramekins - and one is perfect to share!)

Calories per portion: for a quarter portion this is 206 calories for the full fat version, or 138 calories if you're using lightest cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia lightest) and 0% Greek yoghurt.

[Calories in square brackets]

  • Two good quality hot-smoked mackerel fillets (not peppered), approx. 130g [390]
  • 100g cream cheese [235 full fat / 80 lightest]
  • 50g creme fraiche (or use 0% Greek yoghurt for lower fat version) [148 CF/ 29 0%GY]
  • 2-3 rounded teaspoons creamed horseradish to taste (or you can use freshly grated horseradish if you can hold of it) [46]
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped [2]
  • Squeeze of lemon juice [4]
  • Freshly ground black pepper [1]

1. Remove and discard the skin from the mackerel fillets, and any bones, then carefully flake up the flesh into chunks (checking for any remaining bones). Add 3/4 of the flesh to a food processor (a small one that attaches to a handblender is perfect for this job), and reserve the remaining 1/4 (this could be in smaller flakes).

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blitz until smooth, then taste to check the seasoning. If you're happy with the flavour, stir through the remaining 1/4 of flaked mackerel and serve topped with a sprig of dill.

I like to serve this with freshly made 'melba toast', as a delicious light and crispy accompaniment. If you're serving this as a small starter / snack between four people, 6 slices of bread will be about right (makes 24 triangles). Toast the bread until a golden colour (not too brown), cut off the crusts so they are nice even squares, and then using a long, sharp serrated knife, gently cut between the two toasted sides of each piece of toast (so you have two thin pieces with one toasted side, and one soft side). Cut the pieces into two triangles each, and put into a low to medium oven (Gas mark 3 to 4) for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until they have curled up and started to turn a golden colour around the edges, and they are completely dried out and deliciously crispy. Also good with some dressed watercress leaves on the side, and some cocktail beetroot - or simply serve with crudités (raw vegetable sticks) to dip into it.

For a healthy lunch for one, you could cut the following into vegetable sticks to dip into it: 1 medium carrot (75g = 19 calories), 1/4 of a cucumber (90g = 10 calories), 1 stick of celery (90 grams = 9 calories), 1/2 a red pepper (60g = 19 calories); which gives you a total of only 57 calories for a nice selection of vegetables!

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