Deconstructed mackerel salad

I love mackerel, maybe too much but nothing to get me arrested over, and I would cheerfully eat it every day with every course. Abundant with vitamins, complex carbs and omega oils, this is one fishy superfood. Sadly, a recent article in The Daily Telegraph cites that The Marine Conservation Society has taken the species off its ethical “fish to eat” list because the catch is now “far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended”. So now is as good a time as any to savour this beautiful fish, before it disappears off the shelves for good.

One of the most classic mackerel dishes is the mackerel salad, which traditionally comprises mackerel (I know, what are the odds), watercress, beetroot, new potatoes and is often dressed in a horseradish source. My recipe differs from the standard as I wanted it to contain only natural fats and for love nor money could I source any watercress!

I am a firm believer in eating as many raw vegetables as possible. At high temperatures (especially during frying or barbecuing), important nutrients can be lost, so even if in general you would rather your veg be cooked, take advantage of salads that not only taste better, but also look their most beautiful when raw.

Deconstructed mackerel salad

I wanted to deconstruct the classic salad to give it an elegant twist, making it a delicate starter or light lunch.

To start with you need the oat cake base. I make my own oat cakes and always have a good supply in the cupboard. If you don’t, there is no need to panic as they are a doddle to make. Here is what you need:

300 grams of rolled oats
50 grams of flaxseed
Warm water
1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil
A pinch of salt
A quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda

Mix the rolled oats and flaxseeds together in a bowl. Add the salt, the olive oil and just enough warm water to form a soft dough. The dough should be soft and mouldable but not tacky.

Then roll out the dough onto a chopping board with a little bit of flour to stop it from sticking.  Cut out circles with any circular item you can find. I use wine glasses as I currently have no cake cutters but usually have a wine glass to hand…

Line a baking tin with foil, and lay out the oat cakes. Bake at 180C for around 20 mins. They should be light in colour and firm to touch.

Then all you need is a slice of raw beetroot, a slice of carrot (the sweetness and colour of the root vegetables looks and tastes divine), a slice of avocado and then delicately place the mackerel on top. On the plate add a dash of heat in the form of English mustard to cut though the sweet, rich, earthy flavours of the veg and the oiliness of the fish.

And there you have it. A elegant and simple take on a classic.

No oily fish should be without a crisp, zesty companion to cut through the oiliness and this little number goes exceptionally well with a sauvignon blanc. Any from New Zealand or Chile would work very well, but one of my favourite, budget friendly sauvignon blancs is the Ned Black Label Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc, which retails at £9.99 at Majestic Wines.

As one of our anniversary plans is a horse trek along the beach, it seemed befitting to choose Virginia Holgate as this recipes Desert Island Discs castaway. From her chosen artists, I picked Dire Straits, Walk of Life; a classic song for a classic dish.



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