This is a fuss-free way of preparing mackerel, with a nice accompaniment of fresh vegetables. We ate this with my home-made bread, which went down a treat! I've scaled this for four.
For the fish:
- 4 fresh mackerel
- plain flour
For the vegetables:
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 clove garlic
- two bunches of green beans
- chicken stock or white wine
- 1 tsp thyme
For the salad:
- 1 boiled or raw beetroot (not pickled)
- 1 duck egg or a couple of hen eggs
- 4 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
- 4 tsp caster sugar
- 4 tbsp crème fraîche
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp grain mustard
- 1 tsp horseradish sauce
- rocket or watercress
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Gut, clean and scale the mackerel, and dip in plain flour to coat. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the eyes are opaque, the juices are clear and the flesh is bouncy.
Finely chop the onion and carrot, and fry in a deep frying pan for 10 minutes, until the onions are caremlaised and the carrots are soft. Crush in the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute. Top and tail the green beans, add to the onions and carrot, and add a splash of chicken stock and the thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or until the green beans are tender.
Put the egg in a pan of cold water and bring up to the boil. As soon as it reaches a hard boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan and remove from the heat. Leave it to cook through for 8 minutes, then run under cold water and leave to cool before peeling, and then quartering.
For the salad, roughly grate or chop the beetroot into small pieces and place in a pyrex or other non-staining bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve the caster sugar into the vinegar (microwaving it for 10-20 seconds helps). Pour half of this syrup over the beetroot, toss it and leave to the side to marinade. Add the crème fraîchem, mustards and horseradish sauce to the remaining syrup and whisk until it forms a thick dressing. If it's too thick to pour, you can thin it with a few tsp of milk.
Arrange the leaves on a plate, top with the marinaded beetroot, quartered egg, and drizzle over the dressing. Serve the mackerel, beans and salad on the table with a big loaf of bread and plenty of butter for spreading.