Photo by Judith Hausman
I wasn’t disappointed, though; the mackerel worked like a charm. This less refined fish is very salty, especially when smoked, so I had to be careful with the salt, but I also realized it would stand up to other strong seasonings. Widely available smoked trout is a great fallback for this recipe, but I’d use milder herbs and seasonings with trout. Try a combination of good-quality tuna and anchovies, too, creating a kind of tonnato sauce, which is traditionally served over slices of cold veal roast. You don’t need to be a stickler for the proportions here. If the filets are larger, just use more cream cheese and sour cream.
I served the mackerel spread for hors d’oeuvres with cold retsina on a sweltering night. It’s also delicious spooned over sliced tomatoes or cooked new potatoes with plenty of fresh herbs.
Yield: about 1 cup
- 3 to 4 ounces filet of smoked mackerel, bluefish or trout
- 1 (4-ounce) package cream cheese (“light” or Neuchatel OK)
- 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (“light” OK here, too)
- juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley and/or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill, chopped
- 1 garlic scape or 1 small shallot, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon caraway or dill seeds (optional)
Cover and chill for several hours.
Serve with pita bread, miniature rye and pumpernickel slices, or assorted fresh vegetables or crackers.
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