This is my recipe for the best South African Smoked Snoek Pâté. Seriously, you’ll not need another ever again. Suitable for either smoked snoek or leftover braaied snoek, this speedy spread is iconically West Coast and so delicious with everything from crackers to crudités. My preference runs to spreading a liberal amount of snoek pâté over roosterkoek hot from the fire – perhaps with a dollop of apricot jam or a squeeze of lemon over the top – but seeded brown bread is the more traditional option.

Adapted from the Smoked Angelfish Pâté in my cookbook (need a cool Christmas gift for the chef in your life? Buy a signed copy here!), this version uses cream for a silkier texture and a hint of tomato paste for colour. A hint of local brandy gives the pâté depth and pairs deliciously with the smokiness of the snoek.

Speaking of snoek, here on the West Coast there is one place to source this fearsome fish – whether fresh or smoked – and thats Charlie’s Fish Shop in Saldanha Bay.

Comprising of a seafood shop, fish & chips takeaway and flame grill, Charlie’s really is a feast for the senses – I always recommend taking along a large shopping bag and an even larger appetite when visiting. Fresh fish like maasbanker, red roman, lagoon harders, mussels and oysters are fresh on Tuesdays and Fridays whilst frozen delicacies like prawns, squid and kippers are always readily available. As mentioned, Charlie’s homemade smoked angelfish, mackerel and snoek are famed, and I always stock up on a few pieces for salads or this pâté. In this case, I pushed the boat out (pun wholly intended) and bought an entire smoked snoek – half of which went into my Smoked Snoek & Waterblommetjie Tart.

South African Smoked Snoek Pâté

Prep time: 30 mins /Serves: 6

You will need:

  • 400g smoked snoek, skin on
  • 1 small shallot or onion, peeled
  • 250g full fat plain cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of brandy
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

Carefully remove any skin and bones from the snoek and flake the flesh on to a plate. Grate the shallot or onion using a fine grater and place the pulp into a sieve to drain out any liquid. Spoon the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and soften with the back of a spoon. Add in the drained onion, the tomato paste, cream and brandy and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste before adding in the flaked snoek. Combine once more, loosening the mixture with a little more cream if desired.

Serve the smoked snoek pâté with roosterkoek, butter, apricot jam and lemon wedges.


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