There was a time when you would always find next to the smoked mackerel pate at the fishmonger, it’s first cousin – kipper pate. The latter by many has been discarded as unfashionably retro and after all many believe it’s pretty much all the same?.
Well, both involve fish that are smoked and also share some common ingredients such as cream and cheese but there the similarities end. The kipper is a smoked herring and mackerel, herrings and sardines all have a slightly different taste. Sardines and herring are more assertive, while mackerel is milder and buttery, but they can all be used in similar ways. They come in many forms: whole or filleted, with or without skins, plain, smoked, in flavored oils or sauces.
A herring swims in schools containing hundreds of fish, generally feeds on small invertebrates and is often food for other larger fish. A mackerel, on the other hand, is a predatory fish with lots of adaptations for fast swimming.
Back in the day, you would find a very good version of a Norfolk kipper pate from Mike Gurney, a local fisherman in his ‘hole-in-the-wall’ shop in Brancaster. This was quietly dropped by the 1990’s and so for an up-to-date version you could look to the Morston Kipper Pate recipe from Galton Blackiston. Galton is another force in local cuisine with his Michelin starred Morston Hall restaurant.
Pre-heat the grill, then lay the butterflied (opened out) kippers on a grill tray and spread a little butter over them. Grill gently until the flesh starts to come away from the bones, then remove and allow to cool a little
1 knob of butter
Carefully pick out the fish, removing all the bones (you should end up with about 500g of kipper flesh)
Place the fish in the bowl of a food processor with the cream cheese, lemon juice, horseradish, paprika and a good grinding of black pepper. Blend together until you have a coarse soft pâté
200g of full-fat cream cheese
1 tsp horseradish
1 pinch of paprika
Finally, pulse in the double cream. Place the pâté in a suitable container, cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge
1 tbsp of double cream
Take out of the fridge some time before serving to allow the kipper pâté to reach room temperature. When ready to serve, drizzle with good quality olive oil, top with chopped fresh chives and serve with warm crusty bread
1 crusty bread
1 tbsp of chives
Perfect for those September nights when the evening start to draw in a little earlier. Albeit September also enjoys the most spectacular sunsets of any time of the year.