I could justifiably have hung a sign on my door that read “Gone Fishin’.”
I was making a trek across the city to Donnybrook Fair and smoked mackerel would, I hoped, be my reward. I was on the trail of mackerel from Inish Turk Beg, a privately owned and faintly mysterious island off the coast of Mayo. A tasting of their newly available range of smoked fish earlier that week had left mackerel on my mind, and I was heading to the one place in the city that could provide me with that particular smoky fix.
It was with some delight, then, that I had realised that the number 10 bus would take me straight to my mackerel dealer. It was with no small degree of sadness that, upon boarding, I discovered that the number 10 was reaching the end of its well-worn route. The bus, which, all those years ago, had ferried me to and from my first grotty student flat, would deposit its last passengers at the end of that day. My fishing trip was turning into a trip down memory lane.
As the bus traced its way across the city, my mind wandered back to a time when smoked mackerel was the furthest thing from my student diet and fish fingers were more my style. I arrived at my stop, secured a good smoky catch and waited for one last bus to bring me home.
As I alighted at the other end, I watched, for a moment, as the bus continued on its last, heavily punctuated journey. I smiled a goodbye smile and couldn’t help but borrow the words of Douglas Adams: so long, number 10, and thanks for all the fish.
Smoked Mackerel Pâté With Ginger
Well, after all of that, I wanted to do something with my mackerel that would be worthy of the effort involved in acquiring it. Of course, you really don’t want to do much, if anything, to good smoked mackerel before you get down to the business of eating it, so smoked mackerel pâté, where the fish is simply blended into a paste, fit the bill nicely. For this pâté, in addition to some sour cream, I’ve mixed the mackerel with ginger and spring onions, both of which complement it very well.
- 200g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed
- 4 tblsp sour cream
- 6 spring onions, white and green parts sliced (around 75g sliced spring onion)
- 2 tsp very finely grated root ginger
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- toasted rye or wholewheat bread or crackers to serve
You’ll also need:
- A food processor to blend everything together
- Flake the mackerel and remove any stray bones.
- Add the mackerel, sour cream, spring onions, ginger, rice vinegar and a few twists of black pepper to the bowl of your food processor and blend until well combined. Taste and add more pepper, ginger and/or vinegar if to your taste.
- Serve with toast or crackers and get spreading.
- You can replace the sour cream with natural yoghurt for a version that is not quite as rich but still tasty.
- Would serve around 4 as a starter, with toast or crackers.