Mullet, an oily fish with a strong flavour, is perfect for robust cooking methods such as smoking. You could also make this pâté with any leftover pan-fried, baked or barbecued fish, but you’d lose the smokiness.
400g Mullet fillets, skin on, bones removed
50g butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
½ baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
Extra caraway seeds, to garnish
1 cup smoky tea (such as Russian Caravan or Lapsang Souchong)
1 cup raw white rice
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Make Smoking Mixture: combine all ingredients. Completely line a thin metal wok with aluminium foil, extending 30-40cm over each side. Mound the smoking mixture in the centre of the wok, burying the bay leaves and thyme in the mixture. Place a wire cake rack into the wok, it’s important that it doesn’t touch the smoking mixture (if it does, use a wider cake rack or remove some of the mixture).
Place fish onto the cake rack, skin side down, and fold the foil up above the fish to form a ‘tent’, so that it isn’t pressed against the fish and smoke has room to circulate around the fish. Fold foil to seal as well as possible. Place the wok over a high heat until it starts smoking, usually 2-4 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and continue smoking for a further 10 minutes. Remove wok from heat, open the foil, check fish is cooked through, if not return it to the wok for a few more minutes, then set fish aside to cool.
Peel skin off fish and remove any bloodline and remaining bones. Flake fish into a large bowl, add butter, lemon juice and crushed caraway seeds and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined but still textured. Put into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight.
Serve spread on toasted baguette, sprinkled with extra caraway seeds.
Australian Salmon, Australian Sardines, Tailor, Shark Mackerel, Trevally.