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Smoked Mackerel Salad in Fennel Cups

I am always searching for different ways to present canapés. Munching through a mackerel salad the other day I hit upon the idea of using the fennel that should have been shredded into the salad as a container for the other ingredients. Our guests at the weekend enjoyed it, so I think this works, see what you think. Don't forget the sprig of dill on top of each canapé to help it look pretty. For the photograph we used a thick slice of an enormous South African lemon which worked well as a photogenic platter, but a simple plate will do.

By the way, if you have to buy your mackerel in packs, as I did, there will be lots left over to make a delicious salad or an open sandwich. Lunch sorted as well.

Ingredients- makes 12-14

1 fennel

50g peppered smoked mackerel

2 tbsp mayonnaise + extra to spread on the fennel cups

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp chopped dill + extra to finish

2 tbsp finely chopped crisp apple


Small round cutter, approximately 3cm in diameter


Wash the fennel and cut a thin slice off the end to start to unravel the fennel layers.

Unravel 2 or 3 layers of the fennel. If you are only making 12 canapés as per the recipe, the remainder of the ingredients can be used to make a delicious open sandwich (see below).

Using a cutter, cut 12 circles out of the fennel. If the fennel layers are thick, you may need to cut a slice off the bottom of the circles to keep them as uniform in size as possible.

Spread a little mayonnaise on each fennel circle.

Sprinkle a generous amount of apple on top.

Flake the mackerel into a bowl and add the remaining mayonnaise, the finely chopped red onion, lemon juice and chopped dill. Gently mix the ingredients together and check for seasoning and add if necessary.

Pile a generous amount of the mackerel salad onto each fennel disc and decorate with a small sprig of dill. Serve or store, in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours with a piece of cling film lightly draped over the top. If leaving longer than 2 or 3 hours, add the final dill sprig before serving.

Mackerel and fennel salad or open sandwich

Mix all the remaining ingredients together and pile onto a plate or two for a delicious salad or onto slices of rye bread that have been spread with a little of the mayonnaise for something a little more filling.


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