Mackerel, bagnet vert, watermelon radish

Mackerel, bagnet vert, watermelon radish

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

A wonderful oily fish, blue or slimy mackerel is often overlooked as it is regarded as a baitfish and spoils readily. But its high natural oil content makes for perfect grilling, as the skin caramelises beautifully over the dry intense heat of the embers. Here it is grilled with hay, which contains coumarin, a sweet-smelling organic chemical compound that cuts the fattiness of the fish with a vanilla flavour. The vibrant pepperiness of the bagnet vert (Italian green salsa), the vinegar in the pickle and the fresh heat of the horseradish provide a simple yet effective accompaniment.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 slimy or blue mackerel, cleaned (see Note)
2 watermelon radishes
sea salt
40ml cava vinegar
100ml robust, zesty extra-virgin olive oil, such as picual
10g fresh horseradish root, grated

For the bagnet vert

Quantity Ingredient
60g flat-leaf (italian) parsley, leaves picked
60g rocket (arugula) leaves
1 slice fresh bread, crust removed
100ml filtered water
150ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneika
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovies in oil
sea salt

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Scale and gut the fish, and remove the gills. Rinse quickly and dry well.
  3. 3. With a sharp knife, fillet the mackerel, leaving the skin on. Place the fillet skin side down and locate the bones running along the middle of the fillet. With a sharp knife, cut either side of the bones to form a ‘V’. Carefully lift out and discard the V-shaped strip of flesh containing the pin bones. (Also see Note.)
  4. 4. Prepare the bagnet vert. Wash the parsley and rocket in ice water to refresh them, before draining to remove any excess water. Soak the bread in the filtered water for 20 minutes. Squeeze the bread to remove excess water and purée in a food processor with the olive oil and vinegar until a smooth cream forms. Add the capers and anchovies, and blend on high speed. Check the seasoning and store in the refrigerator until needed.
  5. 5. Using a mandoline, thinly slice the watermelon radish, season with sea salt, then place in a bowl with the vinegar for 20 minutes.
  6. 6. Lay the fish in the enclosed grill rack, skin side down. Season with sea salt and grill over intense embers until the skin bubbles and crisps.
  7. 7. Remove the fish from the embers and throw the damp hay onto the embers.
  8. 8. Hold the fish, skin side up, just above the smoking hay for 30 seconds. Season the fish with sea salt and transfer to a clean tray.
  9. 9. In a small saucepan, gently warm the olive oil and pour it over the mackerel. Sprinkle with the vinegar from the pickled radish and strain all the juices, along with the oil, back into the pan, whisking continuously until a light emulsion has formed.
  10. 10. Arrange the fish on a plate. Serve the mackerel alongside the bagnet vert with slices of pickled watermelon radish and grated horseradish.

NOTE

  • You can buy mackerel already filleted if you prefer.
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