Spring is in the air, and with luck, there will be days when it’s warm enough to eat outside. This time every year I like to dust off the barbecue and start grilling again, especially the season’s mackerel, which for me tastes best when it has a bit of smoky char about it. Mackerel has a particular affinity with the earthy sweetness of beetroot and anything vinegary, which cuts through the fattiness of the fish. Have your fishmonger cut the mackerel into two fillets for you and serve this dish as a very elegant starter, light lunch or supper.
For the fish
- Splash of olive oil
- 3 large mackerel, filleted
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
For the beetroot
- 500g cooked beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 150ml sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 100ml crème fraîche
- 1-2 tbsp horseradish sauce
- Snipped chives
- First make the pickling liquid. Put the sherry vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns in a pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- When completely cool, pour over the sliced beetroot and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.
- Combine the soy sauce, honey and onion, then place the fish in the mixture and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.
- Mix together the crème fraîche and horseradish and chill overnight in the fridge.
- The next day, prepare the barbecue for cooking the fish (until the coals are white hot), or get a griddle pan really hot on the stove.
- Grill the fish skin-side down for three minutes, then flip and grill for two minutes on the other side.
- Drain the beetroot from the pickling liquid and arrange in neat piles distributed between 6 plates.
- Place one fillet of fish on top of each pile of beetroot, skin side up. Garnish with a dollop of horseradish infused crème fraîche and snipped chives.
What to watch out for this month at the market: Strawberries
Tara Stevens is a food writer and cook who splits her time between Barcelona and her little cooking school in the Fez Medina. Passionate about Spanish and Moroccan cuisine, she takes traditional recipes and gives them a modern makeover using local and seasonal ingredients. Follow Tara on Instagram @courtyardkitchenfez and Twitter @taralstevens.