1-minute smoked mackerel pâté

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack.

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I have been making this version of smoked mackerel pâté for many years after getting fed up with the grey mush that passes for commercial smoked mackerel pâté.

The pickled gherkins really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced gherkins that are in a sweet vinegar as they give the best flavour here, but I have often used pickled cucumbers, which I make every year once the cucumbers are ready for picking – the recipe link is at the bottom of the page.

This pâté is glorious served my gooseberry chutney: and the good news is that you can use fresh, frozen or even tinned gooseberries: the recipe link for this chutney is at the bottom of the page.

Fancy a quirky take on sausage rolls?

I love making these into “sausage rolls”, something that initially happened quite by accident after having some pastry and some pâté left over.

In which case, add a beaten egg to the pâté (so it holds it shape as it bakes) and wrap it in puff pastry, as though you were making sausage rolls. Perhaps even with a sprinkling of fennel seeds before it goes into the oven……..

The recipe link for these mackerel rolls is at the bottom of the page.

About this recipe

This is a deliberately rustic pâté, with identifiable chunks of mackerel and the other goodies within. And I think it needs to be rustic.

I prefer using crème fraîche rather than the more traditional cream cheese as it gives a lighter pâté – cream cheese can make it all go slightly claggy.

I don’t often deviate too much from my recipe below, but if I do feel like doing so, a little ground cayenne pepper or some lightly toasted and crushed fennel seeds make good additions or even a little of the spiced, sweet vinegar from the gherkins………

Smoked mackerel pâté (makes about 400g)

  • 300g smoked mackerel, skinned and boned
  • a tablespoon or two of crème fraîche or natural yoghurt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of capers, roughly chopped or left whole
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped pickled gherkins or pickled cucumbers
  • 2-3 heaped teaspoons horseradish sauce (or about 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish)
  • the juice of half a lemon or lime
  • a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • freshly milled black pepper

To make the pâté simply put the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork until incorporated, retaining some of the chunks of mackerel. Add more horseradish if you feel it needs it. It shouldn’t need salt but if you feel it does, add a little.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

5 thoughts on “1-minute smoked mackerel pâté”

  1. I make an almost identical pate but instead of horse radish I add a good dollop of mustard!
    Love eating that on fresh sourdough or sometimes fill chunky, slightly hollowed our cucumber “trunks” with it.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I wouldn’t whizz them up as the bones are too firm. However, if there are bones in the fillets you can feel the line of them by running your finger along the flesh: then pull each out, ideally with tweezers: only takes a few minutes per mackerel


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