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
- Cut a courgette into 1 inch (ish) slices. (You get about six ‘cups’ from one courgette so calculate accordingly for the number of guests.)
- 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.
- Be careful not to scoop too low as it’s easy to make a hole in the bottom.
- Put the middle bits aside to use as a vegetable later.
- 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
- Using a knife and fork, flake the mackerel flesh off its skin and place it in a bowl.
- Add the cream cheese, lemon juice, zest, horseradish and black pepper – gently combining all the ingredients without losing the texture of the fish.
- 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.)
- Serve to your guests.