Sunday, 6 February 2011

No more guilty pleasures...

Well, maybe a few but this certainly isn't one of them. I have enough bad habits as it is, so surely eating oily, sustainable fish must bring me one step closer to that culinary halo?

This less-is-more approach to cooking mackerel gets straight down to business, just the pure flavour of fish with aromatics and a glug of vinegar to cut the oiliness.

Something plain like boiled new potatoes helps bulk up this otherwise rather slim and elegant dish into something more lunch-like and substantial. Don't neglect the apple sauce though - it brings the whole dish together.

Serves 2

2 large mackerel, filleted
175ml white wine vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and halved
½ tsp mustard seeds
12 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
a strip of lemon peel
2 tbsp demerara sugar
a small pinch of salt

~for the apple sauce:
400g bramley apples
1 tbsp demerara sugar
a pinch of salt

new potatoes, to serve

1) Place the vinegar, onion, mustard seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon peel, sugar and salt into a small stainless steel pan and bring to the boil. Now lay the mackerel fillets out in a single layer in a ceramic ovenproof dish and pour over the vinegar mixture. Cover tightly with tin foil, and bake at 350f/180c/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, halve the new potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife slides in easily.

3) Finally the apples, sugar and salt into another pan, pop on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes until the apples have broken down into a pulp. Stir well, then serve with the mackerel and new potatoes and a little of the cooking liquor.

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