Tag Archives: mackerel

This week’s food news | 13th August 2010

“Extra large Bic Mac meal and a statin, please”
This week doctors called for a free statin to be served with fast food. The cholestrol lowering drug will help offset the more egregious effects of eating these foods, ‘a function equivalent to a filter on a cigarette or a seat-belt in a car’. Whilst initially sceptical, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. Would you feel odd popping a pill with your MacDo? Continue reading


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Recipe for the weekend – Mackerel on toast with broccoli and chilli

How often do you walk into a supermarket without a list, hoping to wing it? Probably quite often. It is in those moments when you just can’t quite decide what you want to eat, and so you eventually just wander aimlessly into the shop in the hope that some heavenly arrangement of ingredients will magically leap off the shelves and into your trolley. More often than not they don’t. Usually you end up having a panic attack on aisle 12 and start stuffing chamois and windolene into your basket before buying a frozen pizza and returning home for a dinner of disappointment and MSG.

On a rare occasion this week I managed to employ this tactic and leave with my sanity in tact. I knew that I wanted something on toast, and that was about it. Sashaying through the doors and into the vegetables (it was a fresh shop, you see), some tenderstem broccoli winked at me. Then some chillies and spring onion, a mackerel, and some bread. I was home 5 minutes later, and eating lunch after another 15. A quick, delicious lunch, and it cost me less than a fiver.


Mackerel on toast with broccoli, chilli and mustard seeds

Serves 1


200g tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli

2 spring onions, washed and sliced

1 chilli, deseeded and sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 mackerel fillets

1 loaf of ciabatta, sliced horizontally

– Preheat the grill to 220C.

– Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. Simmer for 1 1/2 minutes, drain and run under cold water.

– In the same pan, heat a little olive oil until almost smoking and add the chilli, spring onion, garlic and mustard seeds. Stir for a minute then add the broccoli. Stir fry for a further 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper, and turn down the heat to low.

– Drizzle bottom half of the ciabatta with olive oil and pop under the grill. Get a frying pan right hot with a little oil and fry the mackerel, skin side down, for two minutes. Turn onto the flesh side and turn off the heat. Turn the bread and grill for a further minute, before piling the broccoli on top, followed by the mackerel and a squeeze of lemon.


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Mackerel, braised shallots with chorizo and chilli, and tomato salad

After bemoaning my fragile relationship with the kitchen, I again headed to the market in search of a delicious but deeply thrifty supper for me and my flatmate. Thrifty it was not – £17 I spent for 2 mackerel, a handful of tomatoes, ditto shallots, a bunch of basil and a loaf of bread. I hope my parents don’t read this, as if they discover their unemployed son is splurging this sort of wonga then I fear sympathy may start to wear thin.

Nonetheless, for the time being (that is, until the bailiff starts bashing down the door) spending more than is strictly necessary on ingredients is worth it when they are of such good quality. Last night’s supper was one of the best I have eaten in a long time – not on the strength of the cooking, but just because everything was so fresh. The tomatoes juicy and meaty, the shallots sweet and slippery, and the fish just perfect. Serve with new potatoes fried with rosemary and garlic.

Serves 2

4 banana shallots, whole and peeled, ends trimmed
25g butter
A little oil
100ml marsala or something similar. Or wine. Or not. Up to you. Marsala or sherry best though.
300ml chicken stock
50g chopped chorizo
1 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
4 mackerel fillets
2 large tomatoes
A few basil leaves
White wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar

Melt the butter in a saute pan with a little oil over a moderate heat. Add the shallots, season and allow to gently colour on all sides, until well browned all over. Increase the flame and add the booze. Boil for a minute or so then add the stock. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until the shallots are soft and the cooking liquor has reduced to a sticky consistency.

Meanwhile, fry the chorizo in another frying pan, again in a little oil, until crispy. Remove and keep warm, though wash the pan at your peril. Make the tomato salad, slicing the tomatoes and tossing with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little sugar and vinegar. Tear the basil leaves and stir in.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat the pan in which you fried the chorizo over a medium-high flame, and add the mackerel, skin side down. Fry for 2 minutes on each side then rest for a further 2 minutes. Serve with the tomato salad and the shallots garnished with the chorizo and chopped chilli.

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