Chef's Recipes

Smoked mackerel with palm heart salad and salsa golf

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for smoked mackerel with palm heart salad and salsa golf by Porteno restaurant in Sydney.

By Ben Milgate & Elvis Abrahanowicz
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus brining
  • Serves 10
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Smoked mackerel with palm heart salad and salsa golf


  • 50 gm brown sugar
  • 50 gm fine salt
  • 8 blue mackerel fillets (see note) Hickory chips, for smoking
  • For brushing: olive oil
  • To serve: watercress sprigs
Salsa golf
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 125 ml each extra-virgin olive oil and vegetable oil (½ cup)
  • 1½ tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • To taste: Tabasco
Palm heart salad
  • 4 royal blue potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 canned palm hearts, sliced (see note)
  • 1 celery heart, shaved on a mandolin
  • 1 avocado, coarsely chopped
  • 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dill (loosely packed)
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml sherry vinegar


  • 1
    Combine sugar, salt and 1 litre water in a bowl, stir to dissolve. Slice mackerel into fingers, add to brine, stand for 2 hours, drain, pat dry with absorbent paper.
  • 2
    Preheat a coal-bedded kettle barbecue to low and set it up for indirect grilling. Add enough wood chips to cover base, place an oiled rack over, then place mackerel on rack. Cover and smoke for 5 minutes, then refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for salsa golf, whisk yolk, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl to combine. Whisking continuously, add oils in a thin stream, whisk until thick. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco to taste, season to taste, refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for palm heart salad, combine potato in saucepan with enough cold water to cover generously, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook until just tender (8-10 minutes). Drain, cool and transfer to a bowl. Add palm heart, celery heart, avocado, shallot and dill and toss to combine. Just before serving, add olive oil and vinegar, season to taste and toss to combine.
  • 5
    Heat a frying pan over high heat. Lightly brush mackerel with olive oil and sear, turning once (30 seconds). Scatter palm heat salad over serving plates, top with mackerel, drizzle with salsa golf, scatter with watercress and serve.


Blue mackerel is sometimes sold as slimy mackerel. Canned palm hearts are available from South American grocers; Australian importers include Latin Deli.
This recipe is from the December 2010 issue of

  • undefined: Ben Milgate & Elvis Abrahanowicz