Mackerel is a small oily fish that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. It is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and selenium (1). It can also be high in heavy-metals, particularly mercury, which is more likely found in the bigger species. Try and opt for the smaller species and eat it on the day it is caught (if possible) as the flesh can spoil quickly.
I like pairing this fish with the freshness of the peas and mint and the smokiness of the bacon. The buttery cabbage provides the bed for this dish that is high in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
Sourcing your fish well is key to working with seafood.
Look for bright, shiny eyes and red gills. The more it smells of the sea and the more vibrant it looks the better. Don’t buy anything that looks faded and dull or smells old!
2 fresh mackerel fillets
2-4 smoked bacon rashers, cut into lardons
1 shallot, thinly sliced lengthways
½ savoy cabbage, sliced
Splash of filtered water/veg stock
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful fresh parsley and mint, chopped
Lemon cheek to serve
Place a pan on a medium heat and sweat the shallot in some butter for a couple minutes until translucent, add the bacon cook till it’s brown. If it is sticking to the bottom of the pan add a little water, stock or white wine to deglaze.
Add the cabbage, season and cook until soft.
Add the peas, a splash of water or veg stock and cook until the peas are tender.
Meanwhile brush the mackerel with some olive and season with salt and pepper, place under a medium grill and cook until the flesh is just cooked through, about 8 minutes, it should be firm and have lost its opaqueness, remove from the heat as soon as that happens and let it rest.
Finish the cabbage and bacon mix with the remaining butter, the herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve on warm plates with extra lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.