Mackerel's oily flesh shines when it's pickled ñ the flesh remains moist and the flavour of the fish balances the vinegar. You can serve the flaked fish in a soft brioche roll with watercress, shredded apple and witlof and mustard mayonnaise. It also makes a great side dish: stir the fish through a creamy layered goat's cheese and potato bake or combine it with mint and flat-leaf parsley to make a salad. You'll need to begin this recipe two days ahead.
- 125 gm fine sea salt (½ cup)
- 2 kg mackerel fillets (about 8 fillets)
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 2 small dried red chillies
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 310 ml white wine vinegar (1¼ cups)
- 2 tbsp marjoram
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1Bring salt and 450ml water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve salt, then cool to room temperature. Place mackerel in a non-reactive container, pour brine over, cover and refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
- 2Drain mackerel (discard brine) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add chilli, garlic and bay leaf, then cook mackerel in batches, turning once, until browned (2-3 minutes each side). Transfer to a non-reactive container and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- 3Add onion to pan, stir occasionally until tender (7-8 minutes), add vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in marjoram, peppercorns and cumin seeds.
- 4Pour vinegar mixture over mackerel, cover and refrigerate to pickle (2 days). Mackerel escabeche will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of .
Drink Suggestion: Grapy, off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen