Friday, 16 July 2010

Cornish mackerel with anchovy and black olive salsa

I live in a land-locked city, so 'local' fish isn't something I get to enjoy regularly really, probably why I jumped at the chance to cook these little beauties when I found them on our doorstep in Cornwall.

The mackerel is rich and meaty on its own and is delicious when pan fried in a little foaming butter, but it does need something to cut through and lift that richness, which is where the salsa comes in, and eating them together on crispy bruscetta provides some needed crunchy texture.

A bit of a mixture between salsa verde - with fresh vinegary anchovies, and black olive tapenade, with salty, buttery black kalamata olives - was just what was needed. Perfect dish for a light supper or weekend lunch.

Quick and simple to do, tasty, fresh and seasonal, all good!

For two:
2 fresh mackerel fillets each, skin scored lightly (to stop them curling up during cooking)
12 cherry tomatoes (I like ones off the vine) chopped up
100g fresh anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped up (you'll find these in countless independents, the deli counter in Sainsburys and the pre packed tapas section there too)
100g black kalamata olives, stones removed and the olive meat chopped up
Quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
A small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
50mls extra virgin olive oil
A couple of handfuls of fresh rocket
Ciabatta / bread for toasting - one slice for each fillet, so four in total
Sea salt and black pepper

- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (apart from the mackerel) and leave the flavours to mingle for about 30 minutes before you cook the mackerel
- Heat some butter in a frying pan until it begins to foam (med-high heat)
- Salt the skin of the mackerel fillets just before putting them skin side down in the pan
- Turn after around 2 minutes - the skin should be crispy and golden around the edges, and after they've been cooking for around a minute, turn the pan off and they'll continue to cook in the residual heat
- Griddle / toast your sliced ciabatta on both sides, add a handful of rocket, a couple of tablespoons of salsa, and top with the mackerel, skin side up

Variations and ideas:
Chilli lovers might like a generous shot of tabasco in the salsa mix for a little kick
Add a little oriental and add fresh chopped corriander to the salsa mix

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