When my husband Ted and I moved to Boston in the 1970s, Legal Sea Foods was a tiny restaurant attached to a fish market in Cambridge, with paper placemats and famously quirky service, and the most addictive smoked bluefish paté. It's so good that they've never taken it off the menu. Fast forward to last week, when Bob and Charlotte appeared at my door with a perfect piece of bluefish -- fish they'd caught off their boat and hot-smoked with black peppercorns and mustard seed in their backyard smoking contraption. Life does not get better than this. I whipped their bluefish into my own version of Legal Sea Foods' paté. If you don't have friends who smoke their own fish (you can also make this with smoked trout), buy it at a fish market, or I'll send you Bob and Charlotte's phone number. No point in sending you mine; there isn't a spoonful of paté left.
Smoked bluefish paté
Adapted from Legal Sea Foods restaurant. Makes 1-1/2 cups.
1/4 cup sliced red onion, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked bluefish fillets
1/4 lb whipped cream cheese
3 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
3 Tbsp Cognac
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a small frying pan, combine the onion and olive oil. Set the heat on low, and cook, stirring or shaking the pan every now and then, until the onions are lightly browned, 5 minutes or more. Remove from heat and set aside.
Shred the bluefish with your fingers, feeling as you go for any small bones. Place the fish in a food processor along with the cream cheese, butter and Cognac. Process until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the cooked onions. Process again, until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with crackers, or bread, or cucumber rounds, garnished with remaining sautéed onions. You can make this paté in advance; store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or in the freezer for up to three months, which makes it a handy appetizer recipe to make this summer and serve for Thanksgiving holidays.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Edamame Meyer lemon dip, from Chez Us
Artichoke-lemon dip, from Poor Girl Gourmet
Graffiti eggplant with white bean, basil and lemon spread, from Roost: A Simple Life
Sardine paté, from David Lebovitz
Raw vegetable nut paté, from Eating Out Loud
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