Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nantucket-style Smoked Bluefish Pate

My Perfect Summer Appetizer
Well, the dog days of summer are upon us.  As usual, I don't feel like I have accomplished as much as I would like, nor do I feel like I have done all the summer-y fun activities that I had dreamed of for all those long, cold months.  It has been a fun one and a very busy one, too!  Since June, I have made it to Los Angeles, Atlantic City, the Ozark mountains/Tablerock Lake in Missouri, and spent a week on Cape Cod.  Not too shabby, I know. As far as local fun goes,  I have sunbathed on Rockaway Beach, picnic-ed in McCarren Park many times,  tinkered at flea markets, and eaten my way through farmer's markets.   On Thursday, I will have my annual trek to Coney Island.  We have a wedding in the Hudson Valley the following weekend, then Poof!  Summer will be over in the blink of an eye.

Summer Relaxation!
 It has been a season of relaxing, organizing, and regrouping a bit from a very busy few months previous.  In a few weeks I might just start getting bored so maybe the promise of fall isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I'm gathering my wits and brainstorming new menus...but not too much yet, don't worry.  I have a week and a half left of this glorious season and intend to enjoy it.

The family fishermen at work
Last week during our annual week on Cape Cod, the fishermen in our family caught some bluefish on their chartered fishing trip.  I long ago lost interest in trying to make those little buggers palatable with just basic ingredients and a grill, but they brought a few home anyway.  Luckily, a friend of the family offered to fix them up by smoking the fillets in a backyard smoker.  Thank goodness for that!  As far as I am concerned smoked bluefish is the one and only way to eat them.  Here is my recipe for smoked bluefish pate.  It's a Nantucket tradition and everyone has a slightly different variation. Here is mine--simple and elegant.  It doesn't need many ingredients because the oily, rich fish and smoky fragrance stand tall all on their own!

Nantucket-style Smoked Bluefish Pate
If you don't have freshly smoked bluefish available, you could substitute a hearty wood-smoked salmon (the cooked kind, not lox)

1 smoked bluefish, crumbled and carefully picked through for bones, scales, and skin
3 T capers
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 T flavorful mustard (Dijon, Swedish, or grainy)
1/3 cup mayonnaise

In a food processor, combine fish, capers, garlic, and onion.  Pulse until uniform and large chunks have broken down.  Add mustard and mayo to bring it together.  Taste for seasoning.

Spread on a baguette slices with coarsely ground black pepper and maybe some cucumber matchsticks.  Enjoy this hearty New England summer flavor!


Deborah said...

bluefish is my absolute favorite fish and if any of your fishermen (fisherpersons?) want to give some away I am here with open arms!

Dan said...

There once was a fish from Nantucket.....

Catherine Barker Hoffman said...

Deb, next year I can get you a bunch! I'm glad to know you like them! What do you do with them? I feel like I have tried everything to make them good. Ideas, please.

Dan, haha, only a big brother can get away with writing that on my blog.