Simon Hulstone's mackerel pâté recipe includes pickled cucumber which perfectly cuts through the rich pâté. The mackerel fillets are poached in fish stock for added flavour, before flaking and mixing with rich crème fraîche and horseradish to form the pâté.
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For the cucumber pickle, add the water to a pan and place over a medium-high heat. Add the cloves, peppercorns, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf and tarragon. As soon as the water boils, remove from the heat and allow to cool
600ml of water
1 cardamom pod
4 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh tarragon
30g of salt
Once the mixture is cold, add the vinegar to the pan. Place the sliced cucumbers in a Kilner jar and cover with the vinegar mixture. Leave until required, the longer the better
50ml of Chardonnay vinegar
To poach the mackerel, place the fish stock and the mackerel fillets in a wide pan. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 3–5 minutes until just firm. Remove from the heat and leave the mackerel to cool in the stock. Once cooled, discard the fish stock and separate the flesh from the mackerel skin
4 fresh mackerel fillets
1000ml of fish stock
Place the mackerel flesh in a bowl and add the butter, crème fraîche, horseradish and paprika to taste
75g of butter
3 tbsp of crème fraîche
1/2 tsp horseradish
1 pinch of smoked paprika
Combine all of the ingredients with a fork, until the mackerel has broken up into fine strands, and season. You want the mixture to be dry enough so you can quenelle it later on – if it isn’t, just add a little more crème fraîche. Cover and allow to chill in the fridge
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Slice the frozen sourdough to a thickness of 2mm using a sharp bread knife and cut out rings with a 8cm and 4cm pastry cutter
Place on a baking tray and dry in the oven for 15–20 minutes until crisp
To make the fennel jelly, juice the head of fennel and measure out 100ml of juice. Place the juice in a small pan with the agar and bring to the boil
Pour the juice onto a tray to set and place in the fridge. Once set, cut into small cubes
When ready to serve, quenelle the pâté and serve with the pickled cucumber, pieces of fennel jelly and a bread crisp. Garnish with edible flowers and dill
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