Fish Spreads

It does not matter much whether you call them spreads, pastes or pates. Pates are usually made with livers so we have decided to call the product the spread. Smoked fish make wonderful spreads. Oily fish contains more fat and so it is easier to spread, however, lean fish is also spreadable as butter, cream, cream cheese or yogurt will make a great paste.

In recipes you can substitute one type of the fish for the other, for example flounder, sole or halibut are very similar. Cod, haddock, pollock and whiting are also similar lean fish. Then you have oily fish like bluefish, mackerel or eel. Trout and salmon have similar characteristics.

Making smoked fish spreads offers many advantages:

  • You get more product when smoked fish is mixed with other materials.
  • Fish spreads taste great.
  • Smoked fish spreads are very expensive so you end up with a product that you might be hesitant to buy.

Common ingredients: butter, cream cheese, sour cream, meat stock (consomme), plain yogurt, mayonnaise and avocado pulp. They can be added on their own or mixed together. It makes little difference whether you use plain yogurt or sour cream.

Flavorings: pepper, onion, garlic, cayenne, chives, parsley, dill, curry, lemon, mushrooms. Smoked fish trimmings should account for at least 50% of the total ingredients, otherwise the flavor of smoked fish may be hard to sense. To a certain degree you can influence the color of a spread. For example in curry spread the color is yellowish due to the “turmeric” spice which is always present in curry mixtures. If you add more turmeric the color will be a stronger yellow. Paprika may be added as well and the color will be dark orange. Smoked paprika (pimento) has a deep red color so the color will be stronger. Another interesting spice is “annatto” which has a very dark red color. One teaspoon added to 8 oz mullet spread will introduce a pink tint in the spread. Avocado is of course green so the spread will appear greenish.

Food processors are of great help when making spreads. If you make a lot of spread, it is helpful to pre-grind fish trimmings with a manual grinder. Then you can finish the process using a food processor or mix everything together in a bowl.

Mackerel Spread

A delicious spread can be made from the flesh of hot smoked mackerel, either on a commercial scale or in small quantities for domestic use. The flesh is taken off the whole smoked fish, and all bones are carefully removed. For commercial production this can be done satisfactorily in a mechanical separator. The flesh is mixed with softened or melted butter in a high speed blender, using 7 parts by weight of fish to 3 parts of butter. When the mixture is of smooth consistency, flavoring or spices may be added if required; for example lemon juice and pepper can be used. Manufacturers can readily devise their own variations on the basic recipe. Some white fish flesh is sometimes added to compensate for variations in the fat content of the mackerel flesh in the mix. The product is not sterile, and should not be kept more than 1 day at ambient temperature, or more than 5 days at 32-35° F (0-2° C). The spread can be frozen and cold stored in suitable containers.

Fish Mousse

This can be a simple spread or savory fish mousse, all depends how fancy we want to be. In general cooking terms, mousse is a light, airy food made with a combination of eggs, whipped cream, gelatin, and flavorings. Fish mousse is a light creamy dish made from fish or meat and set with gelatin. It can be served both hot or cold, and it can be savory or sweet. A savory mousse can be served with a sauce that is designed to bring out the flavor of the dish. The use of beaten cream and eggs in mousse creates air pockets that make the dish light and fluffy. The gelatin binds it together, although eggs can also be used as a binder. As a result, mousse has a solid form. The dish may be served unmolded, or it may be served in the mold, think of it in terms of a jelly.

    1 lb smoked bluefish
  • 3 oz butter
  • 6 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Flake bluefish and grind it.
  • Mix with all ingredients until a paste is obtained.
  • 1/2 pound cooked lobster meat
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons sliced stuffed olives
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • Salad greens
  • Cut lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.
  • Add boiling water and stir until dissolved.
  • Add the next 5 ingredients.
  • Chill until almost congealed.
  • Add lobster meat.
  • Whip cream.
  • Combine mayonnaise and whipped cream; fold into gelatin mixture.
  • Place in a 1 quart mold; chill until firm.
  • Unmold on salad greens.
  • 10 oz smoked mackerel flakes
  • 4 oz cream
  • 4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
  • Whip cream, add cream cheese and blend together. Add lemon juice, pepper, smoked mackerel and blend together. Chill.
  • 8 oz smoked mackerel
  • 3 oz butter
  • 4 Tbsp double cream
  • 1 Tbsp creamed horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon grated zest
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • Run all ingredients in food processor. Chill. Decorate with parsley before serving.
  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 2 (about 400 g total) avocado
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. double cream
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place smoked mullet trimmings, lemon juice and oil in blender and mix. Add double cream, garlic, salt and pepper and mix again until smooth.
Mullet avocado spread.

Mullet avocado spread.

  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 4 oz. (113 g) Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 oz. (28 g) softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry wine
  • ½ tsp. white pepper
  • 1/3 tsp. nutmeg
  • Place smoked mullet trimmings, lemon juice and sherry in blender and mix. Add cream cheese, butter, mayonnaise, pepper and nutmeg and mix again until smooth.
Mullet cream cheese spread.

Mullet cream cheese spread.

  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 8 Tbsp. (2 oz., 56 g) plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • Place smoked mullet trimmings and lemon juice in food processor and mix. Add yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder and process until smooth.
Mullet curry spread.

Mullet curry spread.

  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3-4 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Chop smoked mullet trimmings, sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice in food processor. Add other ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with potato chips or crackers.
Mullet dip.

Mullet dip.

  • Guacamole is a popular avocado based dip which originated in Mexico. Authentic guacamole is made with avocado, tomato, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice.
  • 8 oz (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 2 fruits (about 400 g total) avocado
  • 4 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tomato (80 g) medium size (Roma), diced
  • 1/3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 (about 90 g) medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 tsp. cayenne
  • about ¼ tsp. white pepper (to taste)
  • about ¼ tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1. Cut the avocados lengthways and scoop out avocado pulp.
  • 2. Chop smoked mullet trimmings with lemon juice in food processor.
  • 3. Add avocado pulp and all other ingredients. Process until smooth.

Mullet guacamole spread.

  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 2 oz. (56 g) softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. creamed horseradish
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. white pepper
  • In a food processor mix smoked mullet trimmings and lemon juice. Add yogurt, butter, creamed horseradish and process until smooth.
Mullet horseradish spread.

Mullet horseradish spread.

  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 2 oz. (56 g) softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 tsp. cayenne
  • 8 Tbsp. (¼ cup) double cream
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 egg white
  • Place smoked mullet trimmings, oil and lemon juice in food processor and chop in processor until smooth. Add double cream, mayonnaise, butter, cayenne and process again. In a separate bowl whip egg white. Add egg white and mix everything well again.
  • 8 oz. (225 g) smoked mullet
  • 4 oz. (112 g) sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. white pepper
  • ½ tsp.salt
  • Place smoked mullet trimmings, heavy cream and lemon juice in food processor and mix. Add sour cream, mayonnaise and all other ingredients and process until smooth. Chives may be replaced with dill.

Mullet soft spread.

Smoked fish such as salmon, trout, mullet and mackerel can be used for making wonderful spreads and salads. Cream cheese, double cream, sour cream, mayonnaise, butter, eggs, and lemon juice are common ingredients. Pepper, cayenne, dill, parsley, curry, meat stock (consomme) and avocado are usually added.

  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) finely chopped or ground salmon trimmings
  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) mashed avocado
  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) mayonnaise
  • lemon juice, salt, pepper; to taste
  • sour cream and croutons; for decoration
  • Mix all ingredients together and place in refrigerator.
  • When set, garnish with sour cream and arrange croutons around it.
  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) finely chopped or ground salmon trimmings
  • 2 fl. oz. (75 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 oz. (30 ml) single cream
  • 1 Tbsp. (15) ml lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • Salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne, to taste
  • In a food processor blend single cream, lemon juice and oil.
  • Add other ingredients and chopped salmon and blend together.
  • Place in containers and refrigerate.
  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) chopped or ground salmon trimmings 
  • 4.4 oz. (125 g) cream cheese
  • ½ cup (125 ml) clear consomme
  • salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste
  • chopped parsley or dill for decoration
  • Mix warm consomme with cream cheese.
  • Add seasonings, chopped salmon and mix everything together.
  • Place in refrigerator and when set, sprinkle with parsley or dill.
  • Dill sauce
  • Cucumber, peeled, grated, and drained for 1 hour
  • 8 oz (225 g) sour cream
  • 8 oz (225 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 oz (150 g) fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Salmon Mousse
  • Butter or mayonnaise, for greasing mold
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatine
  • 50 ml cold water and 100 ml boiling water, for gelatin
  • 4 oz (113 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated onion
  • 2 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound (453 g) flaked smoked salmon
  • 2 Tbsps capers, drained
  • 8 oz (225 g) whipped cream
  • Lemon slices
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 1. Dill sauce: combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
  • 2. Mousse: grease a fish mold with butter or mayonnaise.
  • 3. Soften the gelatin in 50 ml cold water. Add 100 ml boiling water and stir well, until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lime juice, onion, hot sauce, paprika, and salt and mix well. Add the salmon and capers. Add the whipped cream and continue mixing until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  • 4. When ready to serve, un-mold the mousse onto a large plate. Garnish with lemon and parsley.
  • 5. Serve the salmon mousse with the dill sauce.
  • 2 smoked flaked tilapia fillets
  • Lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • Lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • Gelatin
  • 1/4 pint sour cream
  • 1/4 pint whipped cream
  • 3 egg whites (whisked)
  • 2 Tbsp horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp prepared mustard
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced onions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped capers
  • 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1. Grease a fish mold with butter or mayonnaise.
  • 2. Soften the gelatin in 50 ml cold water. Add 100 ml boiling water and stir well, until the gelatin has dissolved. Addall ingredients and mix well. Add the whipped cream and continue mixing until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  • 3. When ready to serve, un-mold the mousse onto a large plate. Garnish with lemon.
  • 1 cup flaked smoked fish
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives or scallions
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp peppe
  • Peel cucumbers and chop. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
  • 1 can (6-1/2 or 7 ounces) tuna
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • Potato chips
  • Drain tuna.
  • Flake.
  • Blend in horseradish, onion salt and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Fold in sour cream.
  • Chill.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve with potato chips.
  • 20 ml gelatine
  • 100 ml water
  • 60 g tomato soup mix
  • 125 ml cottage cheese
  • 250 ml mayonnaise
  • 1 small green peppers
  • 1 onions
  • 3 celery rib
  • 2 egg
  • 340 g light chunk tuna in water
  • 0.50 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 50 ml coffee creamer
  • Combine gelatine and 100 ml water in a bowl placed over a container of boiling water and mix until dissolved.
  • In a separate pan bring the soup to a boil and stir until thickened.
  • Add gelatine to soup and allow to cool.
  • Add all other ingredients and pour into an oiled (preferably fish-shaped) mold.
  • Allow to set completely in the fridge.
  • Turn out on a platter and garnish with prawns and lemon slices.
  • Serve with crusty bread or melba toast.

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