“I’ve sung the praises of mackerel, highlighting just what a versatile fish it is, in other recipes, and here I have another version. For this recipe, you can smoke the mackerel yourself or have a fishmonger fillet a whole smoked mackerel for you – but I’ve got to say, the supermarkets’ smoked mackerel fillets are not bad at all, especially if you don’t have access to a fishmonger,” says chef Tom Kitchin.

“I love to make this in the summer and keep it in the fridge, as it makes the perfect garden lunch. What I also always have in the fridge is a jar of these delicious pickled cucumbers from my family’s good Swedish friend, Heléne. They’re absolutely delicious on just about anything, and I often also serve them as a garnish on crackers or in sandwiches. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Heléne.”

mackerel pate with pickled cucumbers from Tom Kitchin’s Fish and Shellfish (Marc Miller/PA)
mackerel pate with pickled cucumbers (Marc Miller/PA)
mackerel pate with pickled cucumbers from Tom Kitchin’s Fish and Shellfish (Marc Miller/PA)
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Smoked mackerel pâté with pickled cucumbers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 456 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 104mg35%
Sodium 260mg11%
Potassium 641mg18%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 920IU18%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Calcium 98mg10%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Smoked mackerel pâté with pickled cucumbers

A quick and easy snack
Prep Time20 mins
Chilling time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Servings: 4
Calories: 456kcal
Author: Tom Kitchin


  • Blender or food processor
  • Mixing bowl
  • Preserving jars
  • Non-metallic bowl
  • Heavy-based saucepan


  • 400 g smoked mackerel fillets skinned
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • oatcakes optional, to serve
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

For Hélène’s pickled cucumbers

  • 500 ml water
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 350 g cucumber


  • First, make the pâté, which needs to chill for at least one hour, but will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to three days. Break the mackerel fillets into a blender or food processor, double checking carefully for any small bones. Add the cream cheese, crème fraîche and a squeeze of lemon, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the pâté among preserving jars and bang the jars on the counter to dispel any air. Place in the fridge for at least one hour, or until required.
  • Next make the pickled cucumber. Allow enough time for the brine to cool and the cucumbers to sit in the brine for least two hours at room temperature and then chill for at least an hour before serving, but they will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to two days. Place the water, sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and a pinch of salt in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then set aside and leave to cool completely.
  • Once the brine is cool, pour it into a non-metallic bowl. Cut the cucumbers into 0.5cm-thick slices, add to the brine and leave for two hours, then transfer to the fridge if not using immediately.
  • When you’re ready to serve, remove the cucumber slices from the brine and pat dry. Spread the pâté on pickled cucumber slices and serve with oatcakes on the side, if you like.


Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 920IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2mg

Tom Kitchin’s Fish And Shellfish by Tom Kitchin, photography by Marc Miller, is published by Absolute Press.

How to make Gregg and Anna Wallace’s prawns with chilli and garlic

Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page. Affiliate links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.