"I love smoked fish, and this eel pâté is delicate, rich and
moreish. It goes well with just about any drink and can be made a
few days ahead of serving." This recipe makes 24 crostini.
1sourdough baguette, thinly sliced80 ml (1/3 cup)extra-virgin olive oilSmoked eel pâté40 gmbutter, coarsely chopped2 tbspextra-virgin olive oil4golden shallots, thinly sliced1smoked eel (450gm), skin removed, bones removed, coarsely flaked3thyme sprigs150 mldry white wine250 gmcrème fraîcheGlacé beetroot2 tspwhole allspice2 tspblack peppercorns250 gmcaster sugar250 ml (1 cup) balsamic vinegar1medium beetroot (190gm), peeled, thinly sliced on a mandolin1cinnamon quill
For eel pâté, heat butter and oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat, add shallots and sauté until pale golden (5-6 minutes). Add eel, thyme and salt to taste (be careful; smoked eel is salty), then stir until eel starts to brown (2-3 minutes). Turn up heat to medium-high and deglaze pan with white wine, simmering until reduced by half (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate to cool (45 minutes). Discard thyme, then pulse in a food processor until smooth. Whip crème fraîche in a bowl until soft peaks form and fold into eel mixture. Check seasoning and refrigerate until required. Smoked eel pâté will keep for 4 days in the fridge.
For glacé beetroot, combine spices, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat until reduced by a quarter (10 minutes). Strain into a clean pan, discarding spices. Add beetroot to liquid and gently simmer over medium heat until beetroot is tender and slightly sticky (10-15 minutes). This can be prepared a few days in advance; store in a sealed plastic container. When ready to serve, drain beetroot on absorbent paper.
Preheat oven to 220C. Place baguette on oven trays, drizzle with oil and toast in the oven, turning once, until golden on both sides (8-10 minutes). Cool completely. Crostini will keep in a sealed container for up to 2 days.
To serve, scoop 2 tsp of the eel pâté onto each crostini and top with a slice of glacé beetroot.