With shimmering tones of silver, gold, blue and amber, mackerel looks like it has swum straight through the ocean and hopped onto our counter. Ours is line-caught down the bay in Brixham; you can practically hear their Devon accents.
Look for mackerel that is still stiff and ideally folded in two. Fresh mackerel has a subtle smell of the sea – not at all strong and ‘fishy’. It’s quite an easy fish to pin bone yourself, as the larger bones appear in a neat ‘V’ area that you can remove. Or ask your fishmonger to do the honours so you can get immediately stuck into cooking the dish.
Serves 4 as a starter
125ml double cream
25g good quality horseradish sauce
5g fresh grated horseradish
Burnt apple purée
500g Braeburn apples (peeled and diced into 1cm pieces)
100g caster sugar
1 kohlrabi – sliced as finely as possible into matchsticks
x4 mackerel fillets (ask your fishmonger to pin bone)
For the horseradish cream
Finely grate the horseradish root into a bowl, add the cream and horseradish sauce and set aside for 10 minutes. After the flavours have mingled, pass the cream mixture through a sieve to remove the bits, before whisking until soft peaks have formed. Chill until needed. (Note, this cream will last for three days happily in the fridge.)
For the apple purée
Add the sugar and water to a heavy based pan and leave on a low heat until you have a dark brown caramel and remove from the heat. Add the diced apple to the caramel with great care, as the pan is very hot! Stir the apples through the caramel and allow the mixture to cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Once cool, chill until needed. (Note, this apple purée will last happily in the fridge for 5-7 days.)
For the slaw
As finely as you can, slice the kohlrabi into matchsticks, slice the shallots lengthways into similar matchsticks and mix the two together in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper and squeeze the lemon juice over them to make a loose dressing. Mix well and chill until needed. (Note, this mix will brown, so needs to be made 3-4 hours before needed.)
To cook the mackerel
Lay the fillets onto a flat baking tray and season both skin and flesh. Lightly oil and place under a hot grill skin side up for 3-4 minutes until the skin has begun to crisp and the mackerel is piping hot throughout, the flesh will be firm and white throughout.
While the mackerel is cooking, dress your plates with your kohlrabi slaw, apple purée and horseradish cream. At The Galley in Topsham, we give each item its own space on the plate to allow the customer to try them individually before mixing them.