seaside stuffed mackerel
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And there I was, cooking samphire to serve with fish for years, enjoying it thoroughly, but never once did it cross my mind to do something else with it – like stuff it INSIDE the fish.
Well, let’s be honest: that’s the difference between a cook and a great chef. Take an ingredient and decide to handle it in a way different to what all the ordinary folk like me do. I could mention the snail porridge or venison with chocolate, or Rene Redzepi’s vintage carrot that tastes like meat – but there are clearly a lot of simpler things that a creative chef can come up with.
Instead of just following recipes. Or throwing Parmesan on sprouts thinking I’m adventurous.
Tom Kerridge, whose recipe features below (from Best Ever Dishes cookbook), is clearly a masterful chef. I’ve not been lucky enough to dine at his Hand and Flowers pub in Marlow, UK (booked up a year ahead, so I gather), so I have to be content with cooking the dishes at home, as best I can. Just following the recipes…
seaside stuffed mackerel
- 1 good sized fresh mackerel per person, filleted and pin-boned
- a little oil, for brushing
- For the stuffing (this serves two, increase the amounts proportionally for more people):
- 100g samphire
- 2-3 tbsp. fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 anchovy fillet, drained and chopped, or a small squeeze of anchovy paste
- 2 tsp creamed horseradish
- 1 tsp mustard
- zest and juice of ½ lemon
- For the parsley sauce:
- 3 tbsp. butter
- juice of ½ lemon and ½ lime
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped finely
Rinse and pat dry the mackerel fillets, try to remove most of the pin bones but leave the back and skin intact, so that the fillets hold together.
Whiz all the stuffing ingredients in a blender to make a paste, add a little water if it doesn’t come together.
Open up the mackerel fillets, skin side down, on a chopping board. Spread a generous amount of the stuffing on half of each mackerel, then close with the other half on top. prepare a few lengths of kitchen string and tie the fillets together in three or four places each along the length. Chill for an hour or so.
Heat up the grill to medium. Brush the mackerels with a little oil and cook on the grill rack for 4-5 minutes on each side. If the fish is on the large side, give the backs a short blast too turning it onto the cut, stuffed side.
Prepare the sauce: heat the butter in a small pan until it starts to turn brown, take it off the heat and add the lemon and lime juice. Stir in the pressed garlic and the parsley. Spoon it over the fish and serve with some lightly cooked greens.