Smoked mackerel pastry rolls

This is a recipe I am very proud of: I had some smoked mackerel pâté to use up and had that “I wonder if this will work…” moment. Luckily, it does work and it is now one of my go-to dishes for buffets and the like.

This is essentially my twist on sausage rolls, one of my all-time favourite savoury bites, but this time using a chunky home-made smoked mackerel pâté as the filling. Eaten warm, these are such a treat although these pastry rolls also taste great cold.

When I was practising for the semi-final of Britain’s Best Home Cook, I made the mackerel pâté many times, so needed ways of using it up. And this fit the bill!

I have since made this several times, often using a quick rough-puff pastry (as in the pictures). However, a large batch can be made in under 30 minutes if using ready-made puff pastry – including making the pâté.

I sometimes like to sprinkle fennel seed on top (it goes well with mackerel); at other times cayenne will do. At other times I spread a little gooseberry chutney over the rolled out pastry, which also goes very well with the mackerel.

Seriously, the combination of warm smoked mackerel pâté mixed with small pieces of sharp gherkin, the oniony hint of the chives…..all encased in crisp, buttery pastry, is amazing. And having a coarse pâté makes all the difference here both texturally and in terms of the flavour bursts you get.

The pâté, that is made very quickly, is excellent eaten with toast, as a topping for crostini or as part of a simple snack

When using the pâté in the pastry I add a beaten egg to it so that it just sets as it bakes, which also prevents the filling from oozing out everywhere!

Smoked mackerel pastries: makes about 20

Smoked mackerel pâté:

  • 300g smoked mackerel (skinned and boned)
  • a couple of tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • heaped teaspoon of capers, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped pickled gherkins or cucumbers, drained
  • 2-3 heaped teaspoons horseradish sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish)
  • a little grated zest and the juice of half a lemon
  • a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten*, less a little for glazing

To finish:

  • about 500g all-butter puff pastry
  • beaten egg, for glazing
  • cayenne pepper or fennel seeds
  • gooseberry chutney, optional

(1) Make the pâté: put the pâté ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork until incorporated, retaining some of the chunks of mackerel.

* Omit the egg if you are making the pâté just to eat cold on toast or bread etc…

(2) Cut the pastry into two pieces and roll out to give two thin and long strips. Spread a little gooseberry chutney over the pastry, if using. Place the pâté along the middle of the pastry all along its length and brush a little egg wash along the long edge of each piece of pastry.

(3) Roll up the pastry, sealing well at the joins to form two very long rolls or folding the seam underneath. Brush the tops all over with egg wash.

(4) Dust the tops with either a little cayenne pepper or fennel seeds and then cut into individual pieces, an inch or so in length.

(5) Bake in an oven preheated to 180C(fan) for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden brown. Serve warm.

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.

4 thoughts on “Smoked mackerel pastry rolls”

  1. Looks so very tasty!
    I used to make something similar with smoked salmon and capers, but over the years forgot all about it. I think the mackerel as you’ve done here can work even better. I’ll try it soon – it’s too tempting not to! 🙂


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