Smoked mackerel pate on crostini and red onion confit

The starter

Smoked mackerel pate on crostini and red onion confit (Serves 6, total cost £6.89 - £1.15 per person).

Ingredients – The starter

  • 600g of smoked mackerel (£4.42)
  • 5 large red onions (80p)
  • 1 lemon (27p)
  • 300ml of crème fraiche (£1)
  • 1 fresh granary baguette (40p)
  • The cupboard staples (salt, black pepper, olive oil, horseradish sauce and red wine vinegar).

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, the starter was cheapest to buy from Tesco, where it came to £6.89 - that's £1.15 per head!


  • The pate can be prepared on Christmas Eve. Start by flaking the mackerel into a large bowl (discarding the skin and watch out for the bones!). Now mix in the crème fraiche, the juice of half a lemon, two teaspoons of horseradish sauce and season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge overnight.
  • You can also make the red onion confit the day before as well. Slice the red onions and place in a thick bottomed pan with a little olive oil, sauté off until the onions are translucent and you have a little colour on the bottom of the pan – probably about 6 to 7 minutes. Now add salt, pepper, a big pinch of sugar, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar and one tablespoon of water. Reduce down on a very low simmer for about 1 hour until all the liquid has evaporated and you’re left with a sticky red marmalade consistency. Cool down and this can also be placed in the fridge overnight.
  • On Christmas day morning you can make the crostini. These really are simple. Slice the baguette on an angle about ½ an inch thick – you’ll get plenty of crostini - I would serve 2 or 3 per person. Drizzle with a little olive oil and place in the oven at 200C for 5 minutes. Let them cool before serving.
  • When ready to serve just place a little pate on each crostini and serve with a wedge of lemon and good dollop of red onion confit on the side.
  • Happy eating!


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