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Perfect match: grilled mackerel and amontillado

You'll need

120 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 lemon, finely grated rind only 4 blue mackerel (about 150gm each), cleaned 4 baby cos lettuce hearts, quartered ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced into rounds 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves 2 tbsp sherry vinegar


  • 01
  • Preheat a grill to high. Combine 40ml oil, paprika, two-thirds of garlic and rind in a small bowl, brush the inside of each mackerel liberally with oil mixture. Lay mackerel on a tray lined with foil, drizzle with 40ml oil and scatter generously with sea salt flakes. Grill, turning once, until crisp and cooked through (2-3 minutes each side).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine cos, onion and parsley in a bowl. Whisk vinegar, remaining oil and remaining garlic in a bowl. Add to cos, toss carefully and serve with grilled mackerel.

You can picture the scene can't you? A small, cramped tapas bar, on the outskirts of Jerez, the heart of sherry country - or the fringe of the CBD in Melbourne or Perth, for that matter - full of thirsty, hungry people, mellow from their first glass of palate-tinglingly bone-dry manzanilla, everyone looking forward to another glass of something with which to wash down their next scrumptious glorified snack. A plate is plonked on the bar and the seductive aromas of grilled fish, smoky paprika, garlic, lemon and vinegar come dancing up into your nostrils. Even before you take a bite, your mouth is already imagining the exquisite textural combination of rich, meaty fish and crisp, cold lettuce. Another glass of sherry - of course - but this time, better make it an amontillado. A little less arid than the fino or manzanilla styles of pale sherry, the amontillado style is matured in barrel without the protective covering of flor yeast, and develops a light tan colour, as well as aromas of grilled nuts and a more complex, deeper, more satisfying taste.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Oct 2009

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