Scorched mackerel with Jersey Royals, samphire and capers

A truly seasonal summer dish, celebrating the best of British ingredients in a simple but delicious recipe. If Jersey Royals aren’t available by the time you want to cook this then Cornish mids or a good salad variety such as Charlotte, Anya, Pink Fir Apple or even Salad Blue (for a real splash of colour) will do just as well.

Ingredients

  • For the mackerel
  • 4 super fresh mackerel fillets (pinboned)
  • 200gms caster sugar
  • 200gms fine sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 3 limes

For the potatoes

  • 400gms Jersey Royal mids (scrubbed)
  • 120gms samphire (picked and washed twice)
  • 30gms Belazu fine capers in vinegar (drained)
  • 50mls Belazu extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 200gms cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the watercress oil

  • 200gms watercress
  • 200mls cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • ice

For the fish

  1. Blend together the salt, sugar and lime zest and juice in a food processor
  2. Lay the fillets of mackerel in a plastic or china dish, coat with the curing mixture and place in the fridge for 10 minutes
  3. After 10 minutes remove fillets from the tray, rinse in cold water to remove the ‘cure’ and pat dry with a clean J cloth or kitchen paper. The fillets need to be as dry as possible

For the potatoes

  1. Cut the potatoes in half and boil in salted water till ¾ cooked and drain
  2. Blanch the samphire in boiling (un-salted) water for 5 second, drain and refresh quickly

For the watercress oil

  1. Blanch the watercress in boiling salted water for 10 seconds. Remove watercress from the boiling water and plunge into ice water to stop cooking and retain vibrant green colour. Drain watercress and squeeze dry. (the watercress needs to be as dry as possible) roughly chop
  2. Blend the oil and watercress together in a food processor or blender till very smooth and emulsified.
  3. Strain through a very fine sieve and place in a squeezy bottle
  4. N.B. the oil can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for up to a week

To serve

  1. Heat the oil for the potatoes in a thick based saute pan, add the part cooked potatoes and fry till golden brown
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook till softened but not mushy
  3. Add the blanched samphire, capers and lemon juice and zest and remove from heat – N.B. do not overcook the samphire as you want to retain the slight crunch
  4. Check seasoning and keep warm
  5. Lightly oil the mackerel skin, place on a baking sheet and with a blow torch lightly cook the mackerel fillets. You want the skin to be slightly blistered and charred but not burnt. – N.B. this will only take a few minutes as the fish is already ‘cooked’ with the curing mixture.
  6. Place the potato mix on warmed plates, top with the mackerel fillets and dress with the watercress oil