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Smoked mackerel pate with walnut bread and a watercress and beetroot salad

May 15, 2012

Lemony pate smeared onto crispy toasted walnut bread with a
fresh, peppery watercress and sweet beetroot salad

With one or two of these May days shining a little sun down through the clouds, I find myself fancying something a little lighter for dinner. This lemony pate atop my homemade walnut bread is filling enough for a summer supper whilst being so fresh and light that it makes me believe sunnier days are really on their way!

Recipe:

Serves 4

For the pate:

200g smoked mackerel fillets, with all meat and fish I use I like to spend a little extra to get a better flavour and ensure a good quality product, with better quality mackerel fillets you are less likely to end up chewing on little bones when tucking into your finished pate
100g cream cheese
1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 tsp dill
1 tsp tarragon
75-100g butter

For the salad:

a bag of washed watercress
3 roasted beetroots
olive oil
white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

To serve up with walnut bread use the recipe here http://bit.ly/M3LkdL

Peel off the skin from the mackerel fillets and place them into a food processor then dollop in your cream cheese on top.
Using a micro plane grater or zester scrape the zest from the lemon skin and sprinkle into the processor. Now roll your uncut, shaved lemon around on a hard, flat surface to release all the juices then slice in half and squeeze out the juice and pick out the flesh (without pips) and sprinkle on top.

Shake over your dill and tarragon then blend until your pate is mostly smooth but with a few visible chunks of mackerel to give the finished pate a good texture.
Taste the pate and season with salt and pepper, now spoon your pate into 4 ramekins and using the back of a tablespoon create a smooth even surface. Place your ramekins into the fridge, they will set a little but this is mainly to chill them to that the butter layer will cool faster when you pour it over the top.

Pop a small saucepan onto a low heat, cut up the butter and place into the saucepan, you want the butter melted but not browned. Pour a layer of butter about 1-1 1/2cm thick on to each ramekin then sprinkle with dill. This may seem like a lot of butter but I do not serve my pate with additional butter, so that butter layer will be the only butter on the bread, it's like and all in one pot!

Place the buttered ramekins in the fridge on a level surface for the butter to cool and set.

To make your salad you want to first slice your beetroot into strands, I find this is small enough to mix into the watercress leaves well but large enough to give a good bite.

Now to whip up your dressing, you can do this in a mug, bowl or jam jar (a jam jar makes mixing it up really easy!). Slug in your oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and give it a good whisk or shake if you are using a jam jar.

Toss together the watercress leaves, the sliced beetroot and the salad dressing and pile on a plate, pop your ramekin of pate with it's set butter top next to it with a stack of toasted walnut bread slices.

Enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine whilst dreaming of sunnier days.






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