Recipe: Falmouth bay mackerel in a Nicoise salad

It’s mackerel season! The fish are back in Falmouth bay and it’s extreme to say the least. In fact, we wouldn’t be exaggerating to tell you that they’re literally leaping out of the water onto our rods.

So Nick has whipped up this zesty salad recipe for you to try at home. Or if you’re feeling lazy, the dish is currently being served as a summer special in The Water’s Edge at both lunch and dinner.

This recipe serves two and is gluten free. It contains egg, but the egg can be removed without affecting the dish.

INGREDIENTS

The mackerel:
4 fresh mackerel fillets, deboned
Season with salt and pepper
Drizzle with olive oil

The Nicoise:
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
½ red pepper, finely sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 free range egg, hard boiled for 8 minutes, and sliced in two
½ small red onion, finely sliced
Approximately a dozen mixed olives, destoned
400g fine green beans, blanched and refreshed
100g samphire, washed (plenty can be foraged around Falmouth)
A pinch of chopped dill and chives
Zest and juice of ½ lemon (keep the juice for your dressing)

The dressing:
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
A pinch of Cornish sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
6 teaspoons of olive oil

METHOD

Mix all Nicoise ingredients except the egg in a bowl. Place to one side or in the fridge while the fish is cooking.

Beat the dressing well. The mustard and vinegar will emulsify, to give a mayonnaise-like consistency.

Cooking the fish:
Nick’s tip: “It’s crucial to have a good quality non-stick pan, as you’ll want to get the skin on the mackerel really crispy. Or you can always dust the mackerel skin in cornflower – this will crisp and it keeps the dish gluten-free and tasty for all. It will help give the fish a non-stick coating if you don’t own a good pan!”

Pre heat the pan.

Add a little oil to heat the pan, until it just starts to smoke. Turn it down at this stage and let the heat of the pan carry on.

Carefully place the seasoned fillets skin side down into the pan. Place the fish away from your hand, making sure the oil does not flare and catch you.

The mackerel skin can take a surprising amount of heat so allow it to cook thoroughly. If you’re not sure, gently pick it up and check until the skin is golden brown. At this stage, turn the fish.

Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from pan.

TO SERVE:

Simply dress the salad with the dressing, covering all the ingredients equally.

Place the salad in the middle of a large round plate and top with the mackerel, showing the skin. Brush with a little oil to give the mackerel an attractive sheen.

Add a lemon wedge and you’re ready – grab your glass of wine and dig in!