Good Fish Guide
Fish of the month recipe for Mackerel
Fillet of mackerel, shaved fennel salad and soy lime glaze
Mackerel is one of the most plentiful species of fish in our seas; it is also inexpensive and delicious. It can be prepared in many ways – as sushi, pickled, smoked, barbecued, grilled, baked, pan-fried or steamed – but to appreciate this fish at its best it must be very fresh. This little dish has the virtue of being very simple, and it is packed with flavours.
20 mins, plus 2 hours soaking fennel seeds.
However to lend even more flavour to the fish, pickle it for 20 minutes before you grill it. You will need to prepare the pickling liquor a day in advance. -
To prepare the pickling liquor, pour 250ml each white wine vinegar and water into a large saucepan and add 2 pinches of crushed pink peppercorns, a pinch of crushed toasted coriander seeds, a good pinch of sea salt, 40g caster sugar and 35g thinly sliced shallot or red onion. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and add 3–4 lemon slices and 10g coriander stalks. Leave to infuse at room temperature overnight. The next day, strain the pickling liquor and add the mackerel fillets. Leave in the fridge for 20 minutes, then remove the mackerel, pat dry and grill as below.
For the salad, remove the core from the fennel, then cut into wafer-thin slices, using a mandolin. Immerse in a bowl of iced water and set aside for 20 minutes, this will crisp and curl the fennel giving it great texture.
In a small saucepan, combine the water, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and lime juice. Bring to the boil and let bubble for 10 seconds only, then remove from the heat.
Check the mackerel for pin bones and lightly score the skin at 2cm intervals . Preheat your grill to high. Place the mackerel fillets skin side up on a baking tray. Place under the hot grill for 4–5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets, until the fish is just cooked.
To make the fennel salad
While the mackerel is under the grill, drain the fennel, pat dry in a tea towel and place in a large bowl with the rocket leaves, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil and seasoning . Toss lightly together to combine and sprinkle with the toasted fennel seeds.
Divide the salad among individual plates and lay the grilled mackerel fillets on top. Spoon the glaze over and around the fish. Serve immediately.