"Like with any fish tartare, the freshness of the fish is very important," says Andreas Papadakis. "Spanish mackerel is an oily fish and requires a little acidity, which comes from the pickles. We like cucumbers for their freshness but other pickled vegetables could also be used." At Osteria Ilaria, Papadakis uses wild garlic rather than herbs in the sauce.
- 1 kg Spanish mackerel, skinned and pin-boned
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
- Baby sorrel leaves, to serve
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
- 100 gm fine salt
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 4 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled
- 250 gm crème fraîche
- 50 gm mixed soft herbs, such as chervil, flat-leaf parsley and dill, finely chopped
- 1For brine, place salt, sugar and 200ml in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Add 800ml cold water, transfer to a non-reactive container that will fit the mackerel and refrigerate to cool (1 hour). Add mackerel and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 2For pickled cucumber, bring vinegar, sugar and 200ml water to the boil in a saucepan, then cool to room temperature. Halve 3 cucumbers, remove seeds and dice (about 5mm). Slice remaining cucumber into very thin rounds. Add both to liquid and chill to lightly pickle (at least 1 hour; pickle can be made a day in advance).
- 3Remove mackerel from brine (discard brine), pat dry and dice (about 5mm). Chill until required.
- 4For crème fraîche sauce, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes). Season to taste with sea salt.
- 5Drain cucumber and combine with mackerel in a bowl. Add lime rind and juice, and season to taste. Divide crème fraîche sauce among plates, top with tartare and pickled cucumber, sprinkle with sorrel leaves, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Drink Suggestion: 2015 Pieropan "Calvarino" Garganega/ Trebbiano, Soave. Calvarino is famous for being a leaner mineral-driven vineyard of the Pieropan Estate. The 2015 vintage was warm, allowing the grapes to achieve great ripeness. This wine has notes of ripe green apples, stone fruits, honey and a savoury finish. A great combination with the earthy Spanish mackerel. Drink suggestion by Luke Skidmore