I know that mackerel is in season now because I ate lots last week, freshly caught off the coast around Bardsey Island. Then, we had it simply barbequed on the beach after an afternoon swimming with seals. With the skin charred and falling off the flesh it was absolutely wonderful, but don’t worry, if don’t have a barbeque or cove of seals to hand, this month’s recipe is also delicious. It comes courtesy of my lovely friend, Rosemary Moon, and her moonbites website. Do take a look there for more culinary inspiration.
Serves 2 or 4, depending on how much you want to eat!
2 large mackerel (or 4 fillets)
50g pinhead or medium oatmeal
1 tbsp olive oil
1 If you need to, prepare the mackerel, or ask the fishmonger to do it for you. Remove the heads, snip off the fins and slit the bellies down to the tail. Discard the innards and rinse the cavities with cold water. Place the mackerel on a board, then press your thumbs firmly up and down the backs of the fish to flatten them out and loosen the bones. Turn over, slip a knife under the bones and scrape away any flesh, then snip through the spine at the tail end and discard. Remove any small bones. This is more complicated to write than to do!
2 Press the oatmeal into the flesh of the fish. Cut one lemon into quarters and squeeze the juice from the other.
3 Heat a large frying pan, then add the butter with the oil and heat until the butter foams. Add the mackerel, oatmeal side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Add the lemon quarters to the pan too, to caramelise.
4 Press any remaining oatmeal onto the backs of the mackerel, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the lemons also. Add the lemon juice to the pan, allow it to bubble then serve the mackerel immediately.