Now that my forced low-carb Passover diet is over, I’ve started hitting the bread again—hard. So when my girlfriend, Kate, came home with a baguette, some smoked bluefish, and a reputable recipe for bluefish pâté, I recognized the makings of a mini post-Passover celebration.
Kate spent summers during college living with her grandmother in Newport, where she worked at a fancy restaurant and ate lots of top-notch seafood. Lucky for me, her grandmother happened to be a big fan of gin and tonics and smoked bluefish pâté—often served together, while sitting on their deck overlooking the water. The beauty of a simple smoked fish was something that my Jewish background had taught me much earlier in life, but that Kate’s Presbyterian, Midwestern upbringing hadn’t included. So I owe “Tutu” a big thank you for introducing her.
Though Kate ate her share of smoked bluefish while living in Newport, she never got the recipes from any of her favorite restaurants. Fortunately, she’s since found one that’s just as good. It comes from the popular Straight Wharf Restaurant on Nantucket. The original recipe is great, so Kate and I only make a couple adjustments when we prepare it ourselves. First, we replace half the amount of cream cheese with crème fraiche, which lightens it a bit and prevents the spread from feeling too much like smoked bluefish cream cheese (though it would certainly be tasty on a bagel). We also up the amount of lemon juice, top it with a few drops of Sriracha, and serve it on top of our favorite chametz-laden bread product.
Smoked Bluefish Pâté
Slightly modified from Straight Wharf Restaurant’s Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca’s original recipe, posted on Food & Wine here. Makes about 2 cups.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces crème fraiche
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ medium red onion, minced
4 to 6 dashes of hot sauce
¼ cup minced chives
½ pound skinless, boneless smoked bluefish, flaked
1 baguette, sliced and lightly toasted
Sriracha (optional), for drizzling on top
In a bowl, blend the cream cheese with the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, parsley, onion, hot sauce and half of the chives. Fold the smoked bluefish into the cream cheese mixture, stirring gingerly so as to preserve the fish’s flaked texture. Sprinkle the remaining chives on top and serve with baguette slices. Drizzle Sriracha on top, if desired.