Smoked mackerel pâté with cucumber

This impressive and delicately-flavoured starter is perfect for dinner parties without splashing the cash. Make-ahead, easy-to-do and no cooking required

  • Prep:30 mins
    plus chilling, no cook
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 283
  • fat 26g
  • saturates 9g
  • carbs 2g
  • sugars 2g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 10g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 1 pack smoked mackerel (about 200g)
  • 250g tub cream cheese
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested, both juiced
  • small pack dill, half roughly chopped, half fronds picked
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle


  1. Peel and flake the mackerel and tip into a small blender with the cream cheese, lemon zest and half the lemon juice, and pulse to make a pâté. Add the chopped dill and pulse again to mix.

  2. Tip the mixture into a plastic piping bag or sandwich bag, cut off the end and pipe six thick cylinders of the pâté onto a baking tray and put in the freezer to harden for about 1 hr.

  3. Remove a strip of peel from the cucumber – it’s easiest with a swivel peeler, but a normal one also works – then peel 12 neat ribbons off the cucumber. Do not throw away any of the seeds or the peelings. Dice any remaining flesh, cover and put in the fridge ready to use later. Use the neat ribbons to wrap around the pâté and put in the fridge. Can be made up to 1 day ahead.

  4. Tip the cucumber peelings and seeds into a blender or smoothie maker with the rest of the lemon juice, the olive oil and some seasoning. Blitz to make a thick dressing, then chill. Can be made 1 day ahead and kept in the fridge.

  5. To serve, pour a little dressing onto each plate, sit a cucumber-wrapped pâté on top, neatly scatter the diced cucumber and dill fronds, and drizzle over more olive oil.

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