Smoked trout pate

This is a recipe that I`ve made and loved for years and years.  I tend to serve it as part of a relaxed lunch, but it freezes well, so you can also use it as a sandwich filling for workday lunches or as a topping for canapés.  I`ll slip a couple of cornichons into the sandwiches and garnish the canapés with a few tiny cubes of cornichon and some lemon zest.

You can also vary the seasoning of the pate to taste.  I sometimes add a tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish or replace the double cream with creme fraiche.  It all depends what is in my fridge.  If you want to serve a little salad, it tastes gorgeous with baby beetroot, cucumber and watercress.

Serves 6

100g unsalted butter
a pinch of cayenne pepper 
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 skinned smoked trout fillets (c.250g in total)
4 tablespoons double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
Sour dough, sliced and toasted
Cornichons, drained and patted dry

1 Put the butter, cayenne pepper and lemon juice into a food processor.  Whiz briefly until light and fluffy.

2 Roughly break up the smoked trout fillets, removing any small bones as you do so.  Place in the food processor with the cream and some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3 Process in short bursts until the trout forms a paste.  Don`t over-blend or the pate will become sticky.  Taste the mixture and, if necessary, add a little more lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.  Place the pate in a small covered container and chill until you`re ready to serve.  

4 When you`re ready, place a spoonful or two of pate on each plate.  Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, and add a little pile of cornichons.  Finally, toast lots of sliced dough bread and serve immediately.

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