Pan Fried Mackerel with a Walnut, Beetroot and Apple Salad

This a great healthy dish, a few buttered new potatoes on the side and it’s dinner.Mackerel is bang in season right now….it’s one of those fish that really needs to be super-fresh, so cook this dish when your fishmonger has them straight off the boat.

Ingredients (serves two):

1 large mackerel or two smaller ones, filleted and pin-boned.
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
a splash of olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice

Salad:

A handful of fine green beans, trimmed
1-2 beetroots, boiled or baked until tender (takes an hour or so)
1 granny smith apple
A handful of walnuts
A small bunch of chives
Two tablespoons of walnut oil or EV olive oil
A teaspoon of best quality balsamic vinegar and a small squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch of white sugar
Sea salt and black pepper

Method:

Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water untill just tender – about 4 minutes, then leave to drain and cool a bit.
Peel the skin from the beetroot and cut into coarse batons, cut the apple into similar shapes (though no need to peel here).  Cut the chives into short lengths of 2-3cm, cut the walnuts roughly in half.

Now make the dressing by combining the two tablespoons of walnut (or olive) oil with the balsamic add some salt and pepper for seasoning, taste and adjust with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of white sugar.

Mix the dressing with all the warm beans and all the other ingredients (except the fish – you haven’t cooked that yet!) and toss to combine.  Set aside.

Finally season your mackerel fillets with salt and pepper and cook them skin-side down in a hot non-stick pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Allow the fish to cook almost completely through on the skin before squeezing over a little lemon juice, turning off the heat and flipping the fillets over.

Allow the fish to cook in the residual heat of the pan for another minute or so before serving with the salad.

p.s tweak this dish in any way you like: some interesting salad leaves, chicory or fennel would work well in the salad, as would toasted hazelnuts or pinenuts, add a sprinkle of smoked paprika to the fish or any number of other ideas.

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