Here is a wonderful nibble for a special dinner party, or it could be used as an elegant starter. This is a great dish for company because you can easily make it a day before you need it.
You need 8 oz. of filleted herring-sold as kipper fillets, or smoked trout or haddock, or white fish, or smoked eel if you can find it. Being English, I have a certain preference for kippers. Now, before you fade away from the horror or smoking and filleting fish bits, fear not-all these creatures can be found, suitably canned, at slightly upscale supermarkets.
Let’s assume you choose kippers. Drain the little fillets and peel them-very easily done. Now rinse and break fish into pieces and place in the whirring machine of choice. Break up a slice of whole-wheat bread and add this to the food processor, along with the juice of a small lemon and a little horseradish cream. If no horseradish is available, use a sprinkle of white pepper instead. Whir all this together.
Cut half a pack of cream cheese (4 oz.) and half a stick of softened butter into bits and add to the food processor with two tablespoons of heavy cream. If you’re feeling virtuous use two spoonfuls of plain yogurt instead. Now whir all this up in quick bursts until everything is amalgamated into a smooth, creamy paste. Spoon the mixture into little ramekins for individual servings or, if you are serving this as a pre-dinner nibble, put into a bigger dish with a pretty rim-Spode or Wedgewood, of course! Place in the fridge to set up for a couple of hours.
While fish sets up, melt the other half stick of butter, which must now be clarified. You do this by simply dripping the melted butter through a coffee filter, a piece of muslin, or the clean end of your tee shirt. When the pots of smoked fish have set up a bit, cover with plastic wrap and smooth out, then gently reheat the curdless, clarified butter. Now pour a film of melted butter over your ramekins or bowl, cleverly remembering to remove the plastic wrap beforehand.
Place in the fridge to set up completely. Remove half an hour before service. Serve with hot brown bread toast points. The butter melts as you spread the creamy fish…oh so dee-lish! I think you’ll find this to be a very sophis starter or nibble. Even my picky daughter loves this one, she piles any leftovers in a sandwich, though she scrapes off the butter, silly child! By the way, if you’re feeling super virtuous, omit the clarified butter and serve up the potted fish on “rounds” of English-style (no seeds) cucumber sprinkled with a little fresh mint or dill. This is equally delicious, creamy, and crunchy. Enjoy!