A snippet from an article in The Guardian about January diets has stayed in my mind all week:
“…My fridge ends up filled with pâté and terrine (bought for the earthenware ramekins) and potted stilton. No diet is worth giving up a January filled with tasty morsels on hot buttered toast”.
This stuck in my mind mostly for the idea of Enid-Blyton style ‘tasty morsels’ (such as the oft-mentioned potted ham) ‘on hot buttered toast’, no doubt eaten in front of the fire, and therefore shorthand for ‘cosy’. It also got me thinking about what kind of food people actually feel like eating when Christmas is over and days are lengthening ever so slightly but it is still cold. This potted mackerel is ridiculously tasty and nourishing but the flavours are not overly heavy – perfect for a January lunch or light dinner. This would be lovely with a quick cucumber pickle, lime-avocado slivers or a light cress salad. I had my little pot with toasted wholemeal pitta bread, cold butter and a lemon wedge. Delicious.
Serves Two (Double or triple quantities as required)
Two smoked mackerel fillets
One clove of garlic
Pinch of salt
Tiny bit of nutmeg
Melt butter gently over a low heat and add finely diced garlic clove. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the skins from the mackerel, along with any visible bones. Flake into a bowl and add chopped herbs and seasoning. Once the butter has cooled slightly, scoop off the clear liquid at the top of the butter and reserve. Discard the dairy solids at the bottom of the pan. Pour around 2/3 into the mackerel and mix well, binding the mixture slightly. Add the juice of about half a lemon and season to taste. Pack the mixture into a small spotlessly clean jar and pour the remainder of the butter over it. Refrigerate and eat reasonably soon. Note: this is not a long-life version of potted mackerel, it should be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days.