Barest minimum mackerel pâté
When the spirit is creative, but the flesh is weak
I’m not going to make this a Recipe card, because it's an example of what is possible, rather than a recommendation you try it. There’s better ways to make mackerel pâté, and I intend next time to follow one of them.
However, I had no cream cheese and even less desire to go to the shops to get some, so I melted a couple of lemon cubes in a big bowl, added the tinned mackerel minus some of the oil, sprinkled in badly-shredded parsley from the garden, and hit up the shakers for a bit of salt and pepper.
I then went to the fridge to find the closest thing to cream cheese, which turned out to be Jarlsberg. It’s a softer cheese than the mighty cheddar, true, but it has the consistency of cream cheese in the same way rubber has the rigidity of metal.
But there’s that comforting truism. If you pound and mash something long enough and hard enough, sooner or later it will become pâté. And so it did.
I served it with crackers, an unwashed parsley leaf I found on the bench, and a cup of tea.
THINGS I FEEL I DID PARTICULARLY RIGHT:
-Grating the Jarlsberg finely, so I wasn’t there all day .
-Using a fork to mash, so I was there half the day, but didn’t have to clean and put away an appliance .
THINGS I PROBABLY COULD HAVE DONE MORE RIGHTLY:
-I’ve always thought lemon juice is like chilli flakes, and should be used conservatively, but I should have added more. I could taste the lemon, but not enough.
-On that note, should I have included some chilli flakes or other herbs? Mackerel out the tin is lovely, but when it looks like underlay the dog has regurgitated, some vivid taste is welcome.
-Mashed for a bit longer. The pâté was easily scooped up by my crackers, and wasn’t as dry and stringy as it looks in the picture, but I know I got bored of mashing and just wanted to eat it.