Posts Tagged ‘mackerel’

This is quickly done and delicious–but the mackerel really does need to be fresh.

The incomparable Nigel Slater does a thyme dressing for the tomato salad (see below) and it is the clincher for this combination.

Back in May I bought a couple of  “green” tomato plants at the market in Lautrec.

The young woman assured me they would produce beautiful sweet green tomatoes.

Really?– seems a contradiction in terms.”

“You’ll see!”.

She was right. I’ve been eating my words and the green tomatoes for a couple of weeks now!

I thanked her today at the market after buying the mackerel from the fishmonger.

She said she was pleased I liked them.

“People are reluctant to buy them–obviously not ready–not ripe, they say”.

Worth a try I say–with the zeal of the newly converted!

for 2

2 very fresh mackerel–in fillets

salt and pepper

olive oil

tomatoes for the salad–cut up or sliced as you like (of course you can use RED!)

for the dressing:

1 garlic clove–peeled and pulped with a good pinch of salt

1 tablespoon thyme leaves–chopped


4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

making the dressing:

Pound the thyme leaves with the garlic clove and salt.

Add some pepper.

Mix in the lemon juice,

then the olive oil.

Cooking the mackerel

  • Heat the grill to hot.
  • Brush the fillets with olive oil and season them well.
  • Lay some foil over the grill pan–brush with oil.
  • Place the fillets, skin side up, on the foil.
  • Place under the grill.
  • The skin will start to scorch and bubble–which adds to the flavour.

(Careful not to overdo it though.)

Dress the tomato salad, add the cooked fillets and drizzle the fish with a little more of the dressing.

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This is my 50th post and it’s dedicated to my mother Molly [Weakford] Ellis–whose cooking on a small budget in the late forties and fifties was resourceful and inventive. From her I learned that it was worth spending a little time in the kitchen–not least because I got to lick the bowls!

The Ellis Family under the flowering cherry 1955

Her smoked mackerel paté has a fair amount of melted butter in it, but the oily mackerel is a healthy counter to it.

I like it best served on toasted rye bread.

She wrote the recipe out for me on the back of an envelope and miraculously I still have it.

Her flowing round hand is unmistakeable to me. Few of her written recipes survive, so I treasure this one.

It is very simple.

I made it this morning with the 8oz/250gms of mackerel bought last Saturday at the London Farmers’ market and reduced the other ingredient quantities accordingly….

(Tasting it for balance is a legitimate perk of the cook!)

The apple slices cut the richness of the paté.

Watch out though–it is more-ish!

Serve with lemon wedges.

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend–so “Thanks Ma!”

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This recipe is from one of Marcella Hazan’s inspirational cookbooks.

my culinary Bible

To be worthwhile mackerel has to be fresh—nice clear eyes and firm to the touch.

These fitted the bill at the market this morning– and were only four euros for the pair! I cooked them whole in olive oil flavoured with rosemary and garlic—good strong tasting elements to match the richness of the fish.

For 2

2 medium sized mackerel— gutted and cleaned

4 garlic cloves—peeled

6 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

2 sprigs of rosemary

1. Wash and dry the fish.

2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the garlic cloves until they begin to colour.

3. Add the fish with the rosemary and brown gently on both sides.

4. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes—checking for doneness by carefully  lifting the flap of the cleaned belly–if it looks pink continue cooking a couple of minutes more.

5. Carefully lift the mackerel out of the pan and lay them on the waiting plates.

6. Spoon over the juices and watch out for the bones!

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