Recipe: Shmear

Makes about 600g


"What's a 'shmear'?" asked my non-Jewish editor when I was writing The Jewish Kitchen. It was a good question. It is more than a spread because there is a element of enthusiastic greed in its application. It is less than a topping and it is surely not a puree - far too elegant, and French. Smear comes closest, but even that implies a parsimonious approach. I explained how "shmearers" had once referred to textile workers who glued pieces of fabric, how the word has come to mean extra-curricular payments to dodgy politicos, how every bagel needs a shmear. By the time I had finished, she was sorry she asked. Then she made the mistake of asking how many people a shmear serves? "Well," I said, "It all depends on whether you shmear thick or thin…"

Smoked Trout and Dill

Makes about 600g

If preferred, substitute cream cheese for the butter or use half and half.

● 500g smoked trout fillets, flaked
● 225g unsalted butter, slightly softened
● Juice of 1 lemon
● 2 tbsp creamed horseradish
● A large pinch of cayenne or paprika
● Freshly ground black pepper
● 6 heaped tbsp sour cream
● 4 tbsp chopped dill

● Process half the trout with the butter, lemon juice, horseradish, cayenne and a generous amount of black pepper.
● Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and add the remaining trout flakes.
● Stir in the sour cream and dill until well combined. Add salt or more lemon juice if wished.

Roasted pepper and white bean

Makes about 500g

● 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, roasted and peeled.
● 1 x 400g tin white beans (haricot or cannellini), drained.
● 40g fresh white breadcrumbs
● 4 anchovy fillets
● 50ml olive oil
● Salt and black pepper, to taste
● 1 tbsp lemon juice
● A couple of drops of Tabasco

Method ● Puree all ingredients in a food processor until they are smooth.
● Check the seasoning and turn mixture into a serving bowl.

Feta and mint

Makes 200g

● 200g Feta cheese
● 2 spring onions
● 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
● 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
● Freshly ground black pepper

● Blend all the ingredients to a grainy paste.
● Check seasoning and texture and adjust as wished.
● Turn into a serving bowl.

Clarissa’s website

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