Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel Salad
This dish is fast becoming one of my favourites. It’s fairly easy to make and has maximum impact for not a lot of effort. I have cooked this dish several times now and nearly every time I have used a different oily fish. It works exceptional well with not only mackerel but also herrings and rainbow trout. I demonstrated this recipe at a Catch and Cook event with Food Safari using Southwold landed herrings. It was delicious however the 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 as it’s a very under used fish and we should enjoy it more often at our dinner table. 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 there are a few varieties that are delicious if the skin is cooked until crisp. The skin of seabass, mackerel, herring and salmon can be tasty and could be considered as a treat if cooked well. 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.
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
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Place all the ingredients into a small jar with a tight fitting screw lid and season the vinaigrette lightly, as the soy sauce is salty. Shake the jar vigerously, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Leave the vinaigrette to infuse whilst preparing the mackerel and salad.
Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel
- 4 large mackerel fillets, pin-bones and scales removed
- 1tbs olive oil
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.
Food Fanatics Tip: This will prevent the fish from curling up and allows the fish to cook evenly.
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. Sauté 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 marinade into the warm pan.
Immediately remove the fish and reduced sauce from the pan, leave to rest whilst plating up the salad.
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
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 the other half of the saffron orange vinaigrette to taste when you are ready to serve.
Place three neat piles of the salad on the plate, top each with a diamond of mackerel and garnish the salad with the tahoon or mustard cress and drizzle with the reduced marinade from the pan.