Affordable & sustainable mackerel is the perfect fish to barbecue this summer. It has to be extremely fresh though, with virtually no smell, otherwise it’s clean mineral flavour becomes muddy and intensely fishy. Cook on the bone (otherwise it will quickly dry out) with a few slashes down each side to help it cook more evenly and allow both the marinade and the smoky charcoal aromas to permeate into the fish. Cook until the flesh around the centre bone becomes opaque, turn, and repeat the process on the other side.
Mackerel is a rich and oily fish, so it’s need something acidic to sharpen the flavour. In this recipe I have used balsamic vinegar to compliment the earthy flavours of garlic & rosemary. The dressing is very simple; just whisk 150ml of olive oil with 50ml of Balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of mustard and then season.
Serve the grilled mackerel with a rustic side dish, such as borlotti beans with roasted red peppers. Some toasted seeds or nuts will help to add texture and some fragrant summer herbs will lift the whole dish nicely. The peppers can be grilled on the barbecue before the fish goes on. It’s a good idea to remove all the seeds first, so cut out the stem and pull out the seeds with your fingers. Cook until charred all over, allow to cool a little, and then peel, slice into thin strips.
Grilled Mackerel with Toasted Pine Nuts & Borlotti Bean, Roast Red Pepper & Marjoram Salad
4 fresh mackerel – cleaned
splash olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped garlic & rosemary
2 red peppers – roasted & peeled
1 spring onion – finely sliced
Tin cooked Borlotti beans
handful marjoram– torn into small pieces
handful of pine nuts
- Make 4 shallow cuts into the mackerel on each side and rub in the oil, rosemary and garlic. Leave for a few hours to infuse.
- Mix the beans with the spring onion, basil & red pepper. Add about half the dressing & check the seasoning.
- Put a small frying pan on the barbecue and toast the pine nuts.
- Cook the mackerel for about 4 minutes on each side, and then serve with the Borlotti bean salad & some rocket. Scatter over the pine nuts.