Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nigella's Smoked Trout Pâté for an Afternoon Tea

It's Tea Time at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week. I love tea and think that an occasional afternoon tea, the kind with scones, sandwiches and little desserts accompanied by tea in pretty china cups, is good for the soul. As much as I love the baked goods and sweets, my favorite part of an afternoon tea service is the little sandwiches. They are cute, usually crustless and often come in a wide variety of flavors--cucumber, egg salad, smoked fish, and watercress, to name a few. In looking through Nigella's recipes for the tea theme, I kept coming back to her Smoked Trout Pâté, from "Nigella Express" and thought it would make the perfect afternoon tea sandwich spread. Since I had a couple of tins of smoked trout in my pantry, I could throw it together quickly and easily--perfect for a busy week.

For the sandwiches, I used a small, thinly-sliced pumpernickel bread and in addition to the pâté, I added paper-thin slices of fresh local radish and Japanese cucumber. My tea pairing to compliment and stand up to the smoked fish, a dark and smoky Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong is a robust, strong black tea that is whithered over pinewood fires and then pan fired. As the tea leaves oxidize they are pan fired again, rolled and they do their final drying in bamboo baskets over smokey pine fires. The aroma of the dry leaf is very smoky and a bit woody. The aroma of the wet leaf is even stronger, like a smoky campfire and the flavor reminds me of the outer crust of a toasted marshmallow when you slightly burn it. For some people it is too smoky but I enjoy the flavor and thought it would work well.

Nigella says, "Smoked fish was an absolute staple of my childhood--I used to have smoked mackerel with horseradish in my lunchbox--and I feel if I've got some form of smoked fish in the fridge,there is always going to be, instantly, something to eat. Pepper and lemon, that's all you need for it. And it's a gift to the cook in a hurry too: This pâté takes the merest moment to make and yet it is a wonderful start to a meal or, indeed, a whole meal in itself. I don't even need a salad with it: I'm happy with toast, crusty bread, or maybe even some good bought English muffins or cheese scones, along with a few cornichons and any other tangy pickle. This doesn't make very much, but it is filling and also--which is obviously how I like it--full of pep. If you want something a little milder, with less boisterous heat, then add a mere sprinkle of cayenne."

Smoked Trout Pâté
"Nigella Express" by Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4 as Starter)

2 smoked trout fillets, about 4 oz total
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp horseradish sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of the above ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth and pâté-like. Spatch into a bowl--I use a small terra-cotta dish of about 4 1/2-inches diameter--and cover with plastic wrap before chilling in the fridge.

Notes/Results: Delicious! The pâté takes just minutes to make and has great flavor and a nice little kick from the horseradish and cayenne pepper. It was great as a sandwich spread and would also be wonderful on toasted baguette. I would make it again especially as an easy last minute pupu for a gathering. As for the tea pairing, I was a little concerned that the pâté and Lapsang Souchong combination would be too smoky together but they went together well and neither overpowered the other.

You can see what the other IHCC participants made for their Tea Time treats by going to the post (here) and following the links.


  1. this looks perfect for tea or pupus :)

  2. Oh a delightful pick for tea time aint it....and as summer begins i'd love a tea as this coz most days i skip lunch with the heat et all.....sweet pics u have here...

  3. The gross factor for this is way less than liver pate. I really love smoked trout! I bet this has great flavor...I would love it on a sandwich as a spread.

  4. I see smoked trout at the store, but I've known what to do with it! Until now, that is!

  5. We are huge fans of smoked trout - it is a Canadian staple. Love the pate, and the tea sounds intriguing too - I will have to look for it.
    Delicious tea time fare!

  6. I like the savory tea time treats too! The pate looks creamy and sounds like it would pair well with any veggie to make a tea time sammie. Great pick.

    I'm having a hard time choosing what to make.

  7. Smoke trout sounds wonderful!The pate looks creamy and delicious!

  8. When you depart from the traditional egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, and cucumber tea sandwiches, you really go all the way. This looks outstanding!

  9. I love tea time. this is amazing. I'd definitely devour a few of these with pleasure.

  10. This pâté sounds wonderful, and the teas sound even better. There are so many unique excellent teas out there, Lapsang Souchong sounds intriguing.

  11. What a delicious pate! The tea you picked sounds perfect. And I do agree afternoon tea with all the accoutrements is good for the soul.

  12. The smoked trout pate sounds wonderful, great on a bread with tea!

  13. I love your tea sandwiches. The pate sounds fabulous and while smoked fish, other than salmon, is hard to come by, I want to try this. Thanks for the recipe, Deb.

  14. oh wish I could come and see you at whole foods and learn from you!
    cool i wanted to learn how to make pate love this

  15. Pates have really caught my attention lately. Maybe because they are so light and perfect for spring and summer coming up around here. This sounds really great and I love that photo with the tea.

  16. Great looking sandwiches. I haven't had Lapsang Souchong for a while. This has to change.

    And thanks for making me google "pupu". ;)

  17. Wat beautiful presentation as always!

  18. Afternoon tea certainly is good for the soul! They look like perfect little finger sandwiches.

  19. Deb, you picked a great savory recipe and it is just perfect for tea time this week!

  20. Kat--mahalo--it was good!

    Vanillastrawberryspringfields--thanks--tea for lunch works for me!

    Joanne--yes, much different than liver pate lol! ;-)

    Pam--this is a great, easy recipe!

    Natashya--the tea is strong but really good.

    Kim--mahalo. The savory treats are the best. ;-)


    High Tea Man--thank you--unusual tea sandwiches are fun. ;-)

    A Feast for the Eyes--thank you! I'll gladly share, ;-)

    Fresh, Local & Best--the tea is different and strong but really good with savory tea treats.

    Reeni--thanks! ;-)

    5 Star Foody--mahalo!

    Mary--if you have a Trader Joes nearby, that's where I got mine. The canned smoked trout works really well in a pate.

    Rebecca--I was thinking I'd like to come and listen to you at WF! ;-)

    Lori--thank you!

    Andreas--glad you could learn a new word here lol!

    Shahana--thank you so much!

    Foodycat--mahalo--they were great little sammies. ;-)

    The Burmese Mom--thanks! ;-)

  21. I make this all the time, it's amazing. It also works well with othe fish including salmon.


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