Speedy smoked mackerel paté in gluten free courgette cups

That nibbly time of year is approaching when I find myself missing those little dainty ‘croustades’ that I used to buy and fill with delicious concoctions in the days before I was gluten free. I’ve been wracking my brains for an alternative and realised I could make little containers with slices of courgette.

Here, I have filled them with a speedy smoked mackerel pate which takes no more than a couple of minutes to make, but on Christmas Eve I think they will be overflowing with Coronation chicken, or prawns in lemon creme fraiche, or hummus with chopped olive and pine nuts… the permutations are endless!

For the cups

  1. Cut a courgette into 1 inch (ish) slices. (You get about six ‘cups’ from one courgette so calculate accordingly for the number of guests.)
  2. Use a melon baller (or in my case the 1/2 teaspoon from a measuring spoon set) to scoop out the middle of the courgette chunk, leaving the ‘walls’ intact.
  3. Be careful not to scoop too low as it’s easy to make a hole in the bottom.
  4. Put the middle bits aside to use as a vegetable later.
  5. Fill the empty centres with anything you enjoy…

For the smoked mackerel paté


  • 2 fillets smoked mackerel
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • crushed black pepper
  • sprinkling of cayenne pepper


  1. Using a knife and fork, flake the mackerel flesh off its skin and place it in a bowl.
  2. Add the cream cheese, lemon juice, zest, horseradish and black pepper – gently combining all the ingredients without losing the texture of the fish.
  3. Place a teaspoon of the paté into each courgette cup and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. (Dill would work too, or a tiny sliver of lemon zest.)
  4. Serve to your guests.

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