Smoked mackerel pâté is another (see Classic ’60s menu) blast from the ’60s and ’70s past, named ‘Smacked Mack’ at a restaurant in Battersea which various boyfriends took me to named ‘Toad Hall’. Whoever wrote the menu at that themed restaurant must have had a mind at the same time devilish, at the same time childish.

The Indian naan bread with this, traditionally rather straight-laced, British pâté may seem incongruous, but it works elegantly.

Mrs Beeton mentions a fennel sauce with mackerel and the dill in this recipe is along the same lines. It’s also a traditional Scandinavian herb to use with this fish.

My friend Jacqui adds LOTS of horseradish sauce into the pâté to give it a spicy kick and she serves it with pickled walnuts and bacon bits.

Feel like cheating? You can also buy a rather good mackerel and gooseberry pâté from Waitrose. 

smoked mackerel pate recipe

The amuse bouches sketched at the De Nederlanden restaurant…. little cornets of smoked mackerel pâté, presented in a specially made block of wood, topped with beetroot flavoured cream cheese.

At the De Nederlanden (which is, of course, in The Netherlands) as an amuse bouche they serve smoked mackerel pâté in baby ice cream cornets, topped with a beetroot-flavoured cream cheese. I made a sketch from memory on the menu, because I don’t really approve of people taking photographs of food in restaurants.

So if you want to add a bit of visual pep to your smoked mackerel pâté you could top with a little cream cheese, and sprinkle over some crushed beetroot crisps. 


Recipe for smoked mackerel pâté


for six

  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  •  450g/8 oz smoked mackerel fillets (skinned and flaked)
  • 4 or 5 inches (10 cm) of cucumber cut into dice
  • 340g/12 oz (two packs) cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 8 tbsp/½ cup crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill (and some to garnish)
  • zest of two lemons
  • plain naan bread (about half a big leaf per person)
  • smoked salt and Indonesian black pepper
  1. mix the mackerel and the cucumber, season thoughtfully
  2. add the cream cheese, cranberry sauce, lemon zest and dill


This post is dedicated to Jacqui Eggar





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