Thursday, 2 July 2009
Smoked mackerel pate and an unexpected salad
I'm fully expecting a resurgence in the popularity of mackerel. Admittedly it's not really suitable for fish and chips, but it is local, sustainable and (at least currently) there seems to be plenty of it. This is a fish that needs to be eaten when it is as fresh as possible though, and therefore my consumption of it is generally dependent on good timing with the stocking of the supermarket fish counter (if only there was a proper fishmonger in this city....).
But a great alternative to fresh mackerel is the smoked version. I tend to buy peppered, smoked mackerel and both this and the plain are widely available in all supermarkets. The smoked fish can be simpled flaked into a salad with some boiled potatoes and thinly sliced red onions for a great summer meal, but one of my favourite things to make is a smoked mackerel pate. This involves combining the following:
150g plain or peppered smoked mackerel (skin removed and flaked)
100g cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons greek or natural yoghurt
2-3 medium spring onions (thinly sliced)
A couple of grinds of black pepper (if needed)
Generous squeeze of lemon juice
All the above measurements are very much approximations, so if want a looser texture then add more yoghurt, or more fish to increase the mackerel-iness. Unless you are a total salt fiend, you won't need to add any more of this. This pate, served at room temperature, is perfect with some nice bread, either as it is or toasted.
I made this the other week, intending to eat it meze style with some bread, salad, and prawn and vegetable skewers. However, on getting to the shops there were no skewers to be had. So after realising that the important part was grilling the ingredients rather their being stuck on little wooden sticks, I decided to convert this into a grilled vegetable and prawn salad. This involved thinly slicing a courgette and a pepper, tossing them in some crushed garlic and enough olive oil to lightly cover and then putting them on a tray under a hot grill. After about 10-15mins, by which point the vegetables had blistered and charred slightly, I added the raw prawns, which had just been lightly seasoned. These only took a couple more minutes to cook through, before the whole lot was scattered onto some salad leaves.
Cost: Smoked mackerel around £2.00 for 200g
I rate it 9/10.