Best Seasonal Recipes, Summer

Mackerel in Oatmeal with Lemon

August 15, 2012

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

2 lemons

25g butter

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.

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  • Reply Bill Halling August 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. My wife cooked it this evening – with our own peas and potatoes – and it went down very well.

    Bill Halling


    • Reply ruthvalerio August 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      That’s lovely, I’m thrilled, thanks so much for letting me know. And of course it will have tasted even better partnered with your own produce! All the best.

  • Reply contemplativeactivist August 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Excellent lunch or light summer dinner. I would discard the butter for a healthier option. The taste of the mackerel with the acidity of the lemons and the texture of the oatmeal really can be damaged with the butter . I would also use a splash of quality olive oil preserving and perhaps a soupçon of homemade horseradish! Brilliant. The friar’s table!

    • Reply ruthvalerio August 17, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Splendid! With or without butter, I just absolutely love the combination of oatmeal and lemon on the mackerel. And the scrapings at the bottom of the frying pan are the highlight.

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