This dish is fast becoming one of my favourite recipes. It’s quick and easy to make and has maximum impact for not a lot of effort.
I use this recipe all the time and when mackerel is not available I choose ad different oily fish such as herrings and rainbow trout. Watch for small bones in the herrings can be slightly off- putting. It’s too difficult to remove them all completely, so my tip is to remove as many as possible and then warn your guests about them
I have chosen to use mackerel today, mackerel is a exceptionally good looking fish with its shiny blue and silver skin but is classed as a humble creature from the sea. The oily flesh is packed with nutrients and iron and is a perfect ingredient and it remains at it’s best right through the summer. Mackerel is delicious and versatile and can be served hot or cold, smoked, raw or cooked. One of my other “cheffy tricks” is to serve very fresh mackerel raw, finely sliced, seasoned with coarse sea salt and a wasabi vinaigrette, it’s an acquired taste and your fish must be super fresh.
I’m not a great lover of eating the skin of the fish, however if the skin is cooked until crisp it can be tasty. The skin of mackerel is thin and therefore crisps up easily and due to the natural oily content of the mackerel it renders down well in a hot pan.
I have chosen to serve this saffron orange soused mackerel with a crisp raw slaw style salad, the crispness and freshness cuts through the oiliness and compliments each other very well.
This dish makes a pretty starter or could be served as a main course with warm buttered new potatoes on the side. You could serve this dish either hot as I did or chilled, if you chill the fish in the saffron orange vinaigrette the flavour will become more intense.
Ingredients & Method
Saffron Orange Vinaigrette (use half for the fish and the rest for the salad)
- 50ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3tsp Dijon mustard
- 1tbs soy sauce
- 3tsp white wine vinegar
- 3tsp runny honey
- 50 ml olive oil
- Pinch of Saffron
- ½ tsp crushed coriander seeds
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel 4 large mackerel fillets, pin-bones and scales removed 1tbs olive oil
Raw Fennel, Kohlrabi and Chicory salad 1 bulb of fennel 1 bulb of Kohlrabi 1tbs chopped fresh dill Zest and segments of two oranges 1 small head of white chicory Tahoon or Mustard Cress (optional) Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
First prepare the vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients into a small jar with a tight fitting screw lid and season the vinaigrette lightly. Shake the jar vigorously, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Leave the vinaigrette to infuse whilst preparing the mackerel and salad.
Prepare the mackerel. Wash the mackerel fillets under cold running water and pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper. Cut each fillet of mackerel on an angle to create 3 even size diamond shapes. Score the skin of each diamond several times; do not cut all the way through to the flesh just the skin. (Cook’s Note This will prevent the fish from curling up and allows the fish to cook evenly.)
Prepare the slaw, wash the fennel bulb, remove the outer layer and use a sharp mandolin to finely shave the fennel into a large mixing bowl. Peel the kohlrabi and finely slice using the mandolin, then finely julienne by using a sharp knife, add the julienned kohlrabi to the fennel. Wash the chicory, remove the root end and separate the leaves, add the chicory to the fennel mixture, add the orange zest, orange segments and chopped dill and season to taste. Add half of the saffron orange vinaigrette to taste toss and set aside while cooking the mackerel.
Season the mackerel lightly. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and place the mackerel diamonds skin side down in the hot but not smoking pan. Press down, with two fingers, on top of each piece for a few seconds to prevent it from curling up. Cook for two minutes until crisp and the skin is golden brown. Flip the fish over and turn the heat off and pour over half the vinaigrette into the warm pan. Immediately remove the fish from the pan and reduced sauce until it becomes sticky but still saucy.
Divide the slaw amongst the serving plates and divide the fish between the plates, spoon over the warm vinaigrette and garnish with the salad and cress and serve immediately.