About this recipe:Slices of bread, lightly brushed with butter and then baked in bun tins, make perfect little ‘cups’ for a piquant red pepper and mackerel filling. Served with rocket tossed in a lemon vinaigrette, they make a very appealing starter. The bread cases and filling can be made ahead, then assembled just before serving.
1 red pepper, halved and seeded
6 large slices of bread
15 g (½ oz) butter, melted
150 g (5½ oz) reduced-fat soft cheese
1 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
75 g (2½ oz) skinless smoked mackerel fillet, flaked into large pieces
salt and pepper
fresh dill sprigs or snipped chives to garnish
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of caster sugar
125 g (4½ oz) rocket leaves
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:27min › Ready in:57min
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5). Place the pepper cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Put the pepper into a polythene bag and set aside for 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, trim the crusts thinly from the bread and discard, then roll over the bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten them. Using a fluted 7.5 cm (3 in) round biscuit cutter, cut out 2 rounds from each slice.
Lightly grease the 12 hollows of a deep bun tin using a little of the melted butter. Brush the remaining butter over one side of each bread round and press it into a hollow in the tin, buttered side up. Bake the bread cases for about 12 minutes or until crisp and golden. Leave to cool.
Peel the pepper and finely chop the flesh. Mix with the soft cheese and horseradish sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
For the salad, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and seasoning to taste in a mixing bowl. Add the rocket and toss, then arrange on serving plates.
Spoon the cheese mixture into the bread cases and top each one with flakes of mackerel. Set 2 croustades on each plate. Garnish with dill or chives and serve immediately.
Make smoked salmon and goat's cheese croustades, using soft-grain bread for the cases. For the filling, coarsely grate 100 g (3½ oz) cucumber and squeeze thoroughly in your hands to remove excess juice. Beat the cucumber into 170 g (6 oz) soft goat's cheese together with 2 tsp chopped capers, 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Pile the filling into the bread cases, top with 75 g (2½ oz) smoked salmon strips and garnish with chives.
Mackerel is very nutritious, providing vitamins B2, B6, D and niacin as well as iodine and potassium. These nutrients are not destroyed by the smoking process. * Horseradish is used in herbal medicine as an aid to digestion.
Made this starter for Sunday dinner with fresh mackerel smoked and peppered on my BBQ. Couldn't believe how quick it disappeared with everyone wanting seconds. Would make this again, thanks - 09 Aug 2010