Hederman's smoked mackerel toasts with Jerusalem artichoke soup

Claire McQuillan

Serves 4, generously | Irish | Lunch, or first course
Prep Time: 15 mins mins | Cooking Time: 60 mins mins | Total Time: 1 hour, 15 mins mins

This dish is all about making the most of contrast. The soup is simple but extremely velvety, nutty and sweet. The toasts are salty, spiced and most importantly fried in butter so they’re also crisp and very very dunkable. Also good by themselves but together they are a dream. The mackerel butter they are made with is also just very good spread on hot toast with a bit of chilli flakes on top.  Jerusalem artichokes aren’t a common supermarket veg so this would work extremely well with parsnips or even carrots instead.

50g butter

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

600g Jerusalem artichokes peeled and chopped 2 large white potatoes such as maris piper peeled and chopped

1 garlic clove

800ml stock or water

For the toasts

30g soft butter

2 – 3 fillets of Hederman’s Smoked Mackerel Nutmeg Chilli Flakes

1 small onion

2 gherkins or handful of capers chopped finely – I have used pickled cats ear and wild garlic seed pods here Salt and pepper Butter Sliced sourdough or other rustic bread

Add the butter, oil and onions with a pinch of salt to a pot and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the onions become soft and translucent but without any colour. Add the artichokes, potatoes, garlic and stock to the pot, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes until everything is tender. Blend until smooth and keep warm while preparing the toasts.

Remove the skin from the mackerel, break into flakes and mix with the butter until combined. Add the capers and a sprinkle of each freshly grated nutmeg and chilli flakes to taste. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt but bear in mind the mackerel is salty already. Slice the sourdough thickly and add as much as you would like of the mackerel butter – more the merrier! Close up like a sandwich and cut the crusts off (chefs treat!) to give a flat edge on each side. Add a little butter to a heavy frying pan and heat on medium until the butter starts to foam. Add the sandwich to the pan and cook until each side is toasty and golden including all the narrow sides. It should be crisp all over. Serve immediately with the soup garnished with a little yogurt, olive oil and some more capers if desired.

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