It has been a busy week and this time it had nothing to do with cooking or baking. When you have lived in a home for several years there are inevitable repairs and fresh coats of paint needed. Even though the work was nothing major, the areas in the house being repaired are turned upside down and workmen are in and out of the house all day long. The lingering smell of paint is never very pleasant and I always leave a few large onions peeled and quartered on a tray (in each room painted) overnight, which really helps to remove the smell of paint. Once the repairs and painting have finished (which felt like forever), next comes the cleaning and putting everything back in its place. When everything is so disorganized I like making something quick and easy, to keep in the fridge when hunger strikes… like this delicious smoked mackerel pâté.
Vacuumed packed smoked mackerel fillets requires very little preparation and are so easy to use. As smoked mackerel fillets are very oily and have a strong flavour, it’s a good idea to wear some disposable gloves when handling the fish. If you can’t find preserved lemons the pâté is just as delicious without. Preserved lemons are easy to make and worth the effort, however, the lemons do need a month to mature before using.
Smoked mackerel pâté spread on some wholesome brown bread makes a filling bite to eat for a quick-lunch or snack. For lunch I sometimes make a simple salad using the local peppery rocket (ger-ger) and granny smith apple, lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, to serve with the pâté.
Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Preserved Lemon
(serves 3 to 4)
- 100g cream cheese
- 2 smoked mackerel fillets (about 200g)
- 100g cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons greek yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- a few twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped preserved lemon (optional)
for the garnish
- finely chopped chives or spring onion (green part) (optional)
- some extra finely chopped preserved lemon (optional)
Peel the skin from the mackerel fillets and discard. Break the fillets into pieces (check for the odd bone) and place into a mixing bowl. Using a fork, break up the mackerel fillets. Add the cream cheese, yoghurt, lemon juice and black pepper, mix everything together until combined. Leave some texture in the pâté and do not over beat. Mix in the preserved lemon, if using.
Spoon the fish mixture into a serving dish, cover and chill for at least an hour to allow the flavours to develop. Before serving sprinkle with chives or spring onion and garnish with extra preserved lemon, if using. Serve pâté with wholemeal bread or fingers of toasted bread.