For the Pickled Salad:
- tablespoon sugar (or more if you like)
- large pinch salt
- 200ml white wine or rice vinegar
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 medium fennel bulb
- 1 banana shallot
For the Pate:
- 400g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed
- 1 spring onion
- 100g plain soft chese
- black pepper
- lemon zest and juice to taste
Simple yet utterly rewarding, this recipe was invented by Masterchef finalist Giovanna Ryan during our Summer Festival ‘Masterchef Cook-Off’. Giovanna competed against another Masterchef finalist Josephine O’Hare at our Guest Chef Stand to create a dish with limited ingredients, equipment and time and this was the result. It is safe to say Giovanna breezed through the challenge and left us all hankering for more of these delicious crostini.
‘This is a lovely, summery lunch recipe. The sharpness of the pickles cuts through the oily fish and the hazelnuts give a lovely crunch. I haven’t specified some quantities very accurately, mainly because a lot of it is down to personal taste so it’s up to you really!’
Start by making the pickled salad. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar. Have a taste and add more if you feel it needs it. Some people like a really sweet pickle and others don’t.
Very finely slice the cucumber, fennel and shallot and add to the pickling liquor. Leave for at least 20 minutes.
Roughly chop the mackerel fillets and spring onion. Add to a food processor with the cheese and blend to a coarse paste. If you don’t have a processor, just chop everything as finely as you can and stir in the cheese by hand.
Add the zest of half a lemon and a squeeze of juice. Taste and add more if desired along with a good grind of black pepper.
Toast the hazelnuts in a hot, dry pan until lightly coloured and fragrant.
Toast the bread, spread liberally with the pate and scatter over the fennel fronds and hazelnuts.
Serve with a generous helping of the pickled salad.