Bloater Savoury and Suffolk Rusks were a very popular Edwardian appetizer (early 1900s) served in Suffolk, in the South-East of England. Essentially this is a great tasting hot savoury fish paste on toast. Note on the fish: if you cannot source bloaters then make the savoury paste with smoked mackerel or smoked kippers. A ‘bloater’ (south-east England) is a herring smoked whole – they are differentiated from ‘kippers’ (Scottish method) by the fact that the fish is smoked whole, with its innards intact – they are given the name “bloater” since they are swelled, or “bloated” in preparation for smoking. Dorothy Baldock, “This hot spicy paste was very popular in Edwardian times, when it was served with toast or Suffolk Rusks as an appetizer or a savoury. If bloaters are not available, it can be made with smoked mackerel”.
Bloater Savoury And Suffolk Rusks Recipe
For the Bloater Savoury
- 2 bloaters (or 2 smoked mackerel)
- 60g butter, softened
- 2 tsp Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the Suffolk Rusks
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 120g butter, softened
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp milk
For The Bloater Savoury
Grill the bloaters on both sides, then remove the skin and bones and flake the remaining flesh into a mixing bowl.
Add the butter to the fish and blend well with a fork. Stir in the Worcestershire Sauce and cayenne pepper (chilli powder).
Add the egg yolks and lemon juice and thoroughly mix in. Push this paste through a fine sized sieve mesh to produce a smooth paste and spoon it into a serving dish.
For The Suffolk Rusks
Sift the flour and salt together into a mixing bowl. Then rub in the softened butter with your fingers until the flour resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the beaten eggs and sufficient milk to make a smooth but dry dough.
Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a baking sheet with a little butter.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 2 cm thick. Using a 5cm pastry cutter cut out as many rounds as possible from the dough (gather in and re-roll the dough when necessary) and place the rounds on the prepared greased baking sheet.
Bake the Suffolk Rusks in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes. Grease a second baking sheet.
After ten minutes remove from the rusks from the oven, turn the oven down to 180C, and cut the rusks in half with a sharp knife. Return the thinner rusks to the baking sheets, cut side upwards.
Return the rusks (now cut in half) to the oven and bake at 180C for a further 10 minutes, until crisp and golden-brown.
After ten minutes remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. They can be kept in an air-tight tin for several days – and they also go very well with cheese.
Bloater Savoury And Suffolk Rusks
When cooler serve the toasted Suffolk Rusks with the Bloater Savoury.