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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Smoked Eel Paté

Forget smoked salmon, smoked eel is the daddy! It makes the most incredible, delicately flavoured paté, of an attractive pale pink. I bought mine from London Borough Market, but any fishmonger worth its salt should be able to track it down for you, if you order it in advance. Not the cheapest item on the menu, but this paté is so rich that a little goes a long way, and after all, precious things come in little packages.

INGREDIENTS (for 2 greedy people)

  • 2 pieces of smoked eel
  • Cream cheese (about 2 heaped tablespoons)
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
I know the quantities above are approximate,  but you need to be guided by your taste buds when making this paté - mix all the ingredients together, taste, and keep on adding the seasoning until you get it just right. It should be a balance of smokiness from the fish and richness from the cheese cut through by the sharpness of the lemon juice, and made a bit hot by the cracked pepper. Heavenly! So here's how to achieve all this :-)
Get your smoked eel and peel off the skin, which you will find has a rubbery texture and comes off quite easily to reveal the delicate, pink flesh.
 Using your hands, tear off chunks of the flesh and thoroughly check for bones, discarding all the ones you find. Then get the "cleaned" chunks of fish in a food processor, and whizz them up with some lemon juice and the cream cheese. The paté should be quite smooth but still have some texture. Now it's time for your tasting! Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to your liking, and a bit more cream cheese if necessary.
Serve with warm wholemeal toast and a dressed green salad for a mind-blowing starter or a luxurious lunch.

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