smoked mackerel salad
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Those smoked fish lounging on the left hand side of a fishmonger’s stall are always a bit sad. On the left there’s a glistening variety of colours and textures, pastel salmon and snapper, inky and gunky squid and monkfish, orange scallop corral and sometimes langoustines – pink even raw. Snug on their ice beds, with a sprig of parsley or a quarter of lemon to adorn them, occasional heads glaring fiercely with bright eyes that testify of freshness.
On the left – wrinkly sprats, splayed dry-looking kippers, vacuum-packed kiln salmon and trout; amongst the plastic buckets of crayfish and crates of prawns by a pint: definitely a more miserable bunch. And the fat golden mackerel, arguably more handsome than the rest, so let's be tempted to rescue one.
What to do with it? Well, my grandmother used to meticulously divest the fillets of pin bones and turn it to a pâté/sandwich paste with some smashed hard-boiled eggs and a little mayo. It was great – but very 1970s.
Better to do one of those salads that the trendy bunch call ‘super-salads’. Throw in some avocado – you can’t go wrong with it these days. Chuck in an unusual ingredient: a lightly cooked celeriac here; a bit of apple and cucumber for the fresh flavour and you’re there: seasoning is ad lib. Tonnes of omega 3 from the mackerel - and it's mighty tasty!
smoked mackerel saladServings: 2Time: 15 minutes
- ¼ raw celeriac
- ½ fresh cucumber
- 1 small dessert apple
- a little lemon juice
- ½ large red pepper
- 1 avocado
- 1 large smoked mackerel
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
- a few lettuce leaves, shredded
- a few sprigs of dill, chopped
1. Peel the celeriac and chop it into ½ cm dice. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the celeriac cubes for about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; dry on paper towels.
2. Peel and quarter the cucumber, scrape the seeds and dice it similar size as the celeriac pieces. Peel and core the apple and dice in the same way. Place the celeriac, apple and cucumber in a large bowl and toss them in lemon juice. Core and dice the red pepper, stone, skin and dice the avocado. Add both to the apple - celeriac combo.
3. Take the skin off the mackerel fillet, remove the central bone and try to remove as many pin bones from the sides of the fillets as you can. Break the fish into chunks and stir them gently into the vegetable mix.
4. Make the dressing by whisking the oil into a bowl with the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar. Stir in the mayo. Toss the salad with the dressing.
5. Place the shredded lettuce leaves at the bottom of a serving bowl or on individual plates. Spoon the salad over the lettuce and sprinkle with chopped dill. Serve with wholegrain toast slices or a jacket potato.