Smoked Fish Spread

This is an easy and wonderful way of eating smoked fish, and of using the ends and scraps of any whole smoked fish you have bought. The one thing to remember is that you cannot blend smoked fish or puree it in a food processor without it turning into blotting paper. So do please cut the fish by hand before giving it a final mixing in a bowl, and then let it sit for a day (and up to three) to develop the flavors.

Smoked fish demands a lot of freshly ground pepper and some lemon, so serve more of both with the spread, and offer hot grilled garlic bread.

You will need four 10-ounce ramekins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup smoked trout, salmon, sturgeon, or other smoked fish
  • ½ cup unsweetened butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground coarse white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt

Method

Flake the smoked fish with your fingers onto a chopping board, removing all the bones and skin. Then finely chop the fish and put it into a mixing bowl.

Let the butter soften just to the point where it can be easily beaten with a spoon, and add it to the fish. Add the pepper, lemon juice, and zest, and beat until well mixed. Taste to see if it needs any salt, adding a pinch if it needs it.

Put into individual ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day. Serve at room temperature.

Variations

Use ½ cup of cooked, pureed, and sieved white beans instead of the butter and mix that spread with ¼ cup of olive oil; or use ½ cup of fresh white breadcrumbs instead of butter with the same ¼ cup of olive oil; and instead of smoked fish, try cooked salmon, shrimp, or crab.

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