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Smoked Mackerel on Toast

When Texas-born couple Hunter Hindman and Shelby Carr moved to Amsterdam an into a former artist studio, the kitchen was the natural starting point for the renovation as Shelby is an avid cook, putting her skills to work each day. The couple has since moved back to the U.S. but frequently make a dish they discovered during their adventures abroad. Keep reading to learn how to make their version of smoked mackerel on toast—which they say is best with a gin cocktail.

Until Hindman and Carr moved in, the space had never been a home. Carr cooks every day, so the compact kitchen was a natural starting point for the renovation. It features an industrial curving steel counter, which also functions as a breakfast bar. The S
Hunter and Shelby enjoy martinis in their Amsterdam apartment, Hunter behind the custom-designed island by OP16 and Shelby upon a Scrap stool by contemporary Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek.

"After moving to Holland, we developed a deep fondness for smoked fish," Shelby says. "Almost every restaurant in Amsterdam has their version of smoked fish with mayonnaise, usually served in an open-face sandwich or in a hot cheese 'tosti.' We typically serve it as an appetizer alongside chilled glasses of genever (Dutch gin). We recommend A.van Wees genever; they have been distilling gin since 1782 and were located just a few doors down from our apartment." 

Smoked Mackerel on Toast

Serves 2 as an appetizer


1 smoked mackerel filet

1 dollop mayonnaise

1 dollop crème fraîche

1 tiny teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 squeeze of lemon juice

1 spoonful chopped dill

Lots of cracked black pepper

A couple black olives, finely chopped (optional)

4 small pieces of brown bread, toasted

1 spoonful of minced chives


1. In a large bowl, flake the mackerel filet into bite-size chunks.

2. Combine the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, mustard, lemon juice, dill, black pepper, and olives (optional) in another bowl.

3. Carefully fold the mayonnaise mixture into the fish a little at a time until you reach a desired consistency. Be careful not to overdress.

4. Spoon onto toast and garnish with minced chives.

Shelby's tip: Serve with a chilled glass of genever or favorite gin cocktail.

Teak cabinets add warmth to the steel counter in the kitchen, which local designers Op16 created for the couple. The picture was created by the New York graffiti artist Cycle and was purchased at <a href="">Upper Playground<
Read more about Hunter and Shelby's Amsterdam apartment here and check out the kitchen (including full sourcing information) in our special 100 Kitchens We Love issue, on newsstands April 5, 2011.

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