smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate lunch

smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate

Smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate is such a great recipe to get under your belt. I make a scrumptious chicken liver pâté but when I fancy a change I make this smoked fish pate with salmon, trout or mackerel.

I love the fact that most of the smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate ingredients are things I have to hand all the time. So I can throw it together without much planning. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the health benefits of oily fish, nor do I need to tell you how delicious salmon, cream cheese and pickles are together on a bagel. I took that idea and refined it by adding a little more complexity to the flavour (but very little complexity to the technique) to come up with this recipe.

Smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate – for packed lunches and other occasions

This recipe is so easy and a regular for lunch at our house. It is a delight to have a pot of this in the fridge and it will happily keep in the fridge for a week. My kids love it too. It has been great to have in their sandwiches (a good change from cheese or hummus) and I also stir some through hot pasta with peas and watercress or asparagus for a quick dinner.

It makes a great make ahead starter or appetizer too  – in the main image you can see it on thinly sliced and toasted rye bread, topped with microgreens, picked radish and fried capers. Here are my pickled vegetables and crispy capers recipes.

Be fancy if you fancy

If you want to be very fancy, you can make a terrine by doubling (or tripling) the recipe below. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap then place sheets of smoked salmon inside the wrap and spoon the pâté in. When the loaf pan is full, cover and pop in the fridge overnight.

You can also make a gorgeous Thai flavoured version by replacing the lemon with lime juice and zest, switch the mustard/horseradish to chilli and add a thumb of peeled fresh ginger and a handful of coriander (cilantro). A dash of Thai fish sauce works well too.

smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pateStore it

It will be fine in a jar in the fridge for 5 days. Or you can freeze it, be sure to freeze it in a narrow necked container to reduce exposure to air. Defrost it overnight in the fridge.

Notes and substitutions

  • If you are dairy-free, use homemade or good quality mayonnaise in place of the cream cheese and crème fraîche
  • Crème fraîche is a cultured cream. Less sour than sour cream and a great ingredient that you’ll find in many French and English recipes. It doesn’t curdle when added to sauces and is a delicious, less cloying alternative to heavy cream in sweet dishes. I love it on scones with jam or with fruit crumble
  • If you can’t find crème fraîche you can use sour cream, or just double the amount of cream cheese/cottage cheese.

Smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate ingredients

(serves 4-6 people):

Active prep time: 10 minutes

  • 100g (3.5oz) full fat cream cheese (or mayo or cottage cheese – see notes above)
  • 100g (3.5oz) crème fraîche (see note above)
  • 200g (7oz) wild smoked salmon, or smoked trout or smoked mackerel. If using smoked mackerel, take the skin off first
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon of horseradish cream or Dijon mustard
  • optional – 2 tablespoons chopped chives, dill, basil, flaked cooked salmon or flaked hot smoked salmon
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

To serve:

  • Bread, crackers or toast.
  • Pickles – gerkins and or a selection of quick pickled veg and fried or plain capers
  • Greens – micro greens or cress look beautiful with this, you could use herb flowers too
  • lemon zest scattered over the top looks pretty and gives pops of citrus
  • black pepper

To make:

1. Either combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Or, for a chunkier pate, mix the cheese, crème fraîche and seasonings together by hand before folding in the finely chopped fish. Either way, check for seasoning and adjust the acid (lemon), heat (mustard, pepper, horseradish) and salt

2. Pour into a narrow necked jar or bowl. The narrow neck is to reduce the amount on surface area and therefore reduce the amount of air that will get to the surface of the pâté. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight before serving spread on toast, scattered with pickles and greens then cut into fingers


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. I receive a small affiliate fee from Amazon if you buy via my link. The products don’t cost you any more. These small fees help me keep creating all the free content I share.

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Find more recipes for cream cheesefish, appetizers and lunches here.

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