Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mackerel and Dill Pate and Pasta

Living almost thirteen miles from my nearest fishmongers whenever I want fresh fish I am faced with the choice of supermarket fish or a 25 mile round trip.  I'm really fussy about fish.  In fact I am so fussy that at least 50% of the time I wander up to a fish counter I walk off with nothing.

However I recently discovered my idea solution.  Fish for thought delivers, and the fish was frankly the freshest fish I've seen anywhere and it’s locally and sustainably sourced.  It was as though the fish had come straight off a boat and dropped at my doorstep. I can't recommend this company highly enough.
 (Shhhh ...  I happen to know that they supply some of the absolute A list top chef's kitchen's with their fish too) 

So with these fabulous fresh mackerel fillets I made one of my all time favorite recipes: you get two results for one effort – the perfect thing for me as I move house as I haven't the time to faff about and want to eat well all the same! What I love about this is that this combination gets you the extra dish for free.  Normally it’s the kind of recipe you need after a busy day at work and you have guests coming for supper the following evening.  But I’m using the pate as tonight super with a large salad and a fresh sourdough bread so I’ve very little washing up to do - being shattered it also stops me from dialing for a take out!

The elderflower syrup sweetens the fish, the lemon adds a sour note and the salt picks out the flavour of the mackerel – and all enveloped in a creamy base, with the dill adding a light, fragrant, herbal lift. The pasta is  really quick to get on the table as a main dish, ( we ate ours last night)  and for absolutely no extra effort you can transfer some of the pasta sauce mix across and – hey presto: the mackerel pâté is literally ready to chill. The pâté makes a superb starter for a supper party of for canapés.


The recipes makes
• Pasta for 4 & pâté for 4
• Or mackerel pasta for 8
• Or mackerel pâté for 8
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes for the pasta

600g cooked mackerel fillets (If baking your own, 600g whole fish yields approximately 300g mackerel, once bones and skin are discarded)
6 tbsp elderflower syrup
Juice of 2 lemons
300g soft full-fat cheese
2 good pinches of sea salt
Fresh ground white pepper to taste
A handful finely chopped dill, plus extra for sprinkling
To make the pasta
500g pasta
Olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve


1 Place the mackerel fillets into a bowl and break them up with a fork. Regardless of whether you’ve bought the fillets prepacked or baked them yourself, do check through them to ensure there are no stray bones.
2 Add the Elderflower syrup, lemon juice and soft cheese and mix well. Add the salt, pepper,  and dill and give it a final good stir.
3 To serve both pasta and pâté for 4, remove half the mixture – about 350g – and put it into a large cling-film-layered dish and put it in the fridge to set.
The rest will make a good-sized portion to serve 4 people pasta
(If you want all of this recipe to be the pâté, turn it out into 4 cling-film-lined ramekins Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set before serving. )
4 Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
5 Once the pasta is drained, add a tablespoon of olive oil and stir. Add the mackerel and stir well. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan and extra dill sprinkled over it.

Elderflower Syrup
Tips & Uses

•The pâté makes a superb sandwich filler, with a handful of watercress and a squeeze of lemon in a crusty roll, you can have a delicious and easy packed lunch.
You can use Smoked Mackerel for a variation
•Substitute trout or salmon for mackerel – or for an emergency fast supper, use a tin of well-drained tuna with an extra squeeze of lemon.



  1. Taken copy of recipe will do it when we are in our tincan by the sea. Suffolk, so should get some great fish. Will let you know what we thought when we return. xxx

  2. Yes really lovely. Tasted refreshing with the elderflower in it. Did the pasta & the pate. I used smoked mackerel. Hope you signed the Big Fish Fight petition. Hope move went Ok & you are all settling in nice. Look forward to more recipes to try out. xxx


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