Friday, 4 June 2010

Honey and mustard crusted mackerel fillets with samphire, saute potatoes and simple hollandaise sauce

Mackerel are not as good as other fish when it comes to slapping someone in the face as they're quite small. They make up for this somewhat as they're cheap and very tasty.

Mackerel has a very robust, meaty flavour. My fishmonger said that honey goes well with it, as does anything that goes well with beef, e.g. mustard or horseradish. He also had samphire, which is a sea vegetable I've seen a few times on Great British Menu so I thought I'd give it a go as well.


  • 1 x whole mackerel, cleaned and gutted (get your fishmonger to do this)
  • 1 x medium/large waxy new potato
  • 1 x garlic clove
  • 2 x free range egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 x free range egg yolks, unbeaten
  • 3-4 tbsps flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 tsps English mustard, according to taste
  • 1 or 2 thick slices of stale (yes I really do mean stale) white bread
  • 2 tbsps samphire
  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Generous handful of flat-leat parsley, roughly chopped

  1. Turn the oven on at 180 degrees, heat a frying pan at a medium-high heat and get a saucepan of water boiling.
  2. Cut the crusts off the bread, break it into pieces and put it into a food processor along with the parsley, mustard, honey and plenty of salt and pepper. The reason you want stale bread is that it's harder and will form a nice crunchy crust this way - for the avoidance of doubt I do NOT mean mouldy bread. Whizz it all up into a fine mixture.
  3. Fillet the mackerel. If you don't know how to do this, this video provides a good guide You could get your fishmonger to do it but I recommend getting the practice. Make sure you use a damn sharp filleting knife for this otherwise you will just rip the flesh and you'll end up with half of it still on the fish. Once you've filleted it, carefully remove all the pin bones in the fillets using a pair of tweezers. Check you've got all of them out before the next stage.
  4. Dip the mackerel fillets into the beaten egg yolks, then the flour, and finally the breadcrumbs. Roll it around well to get a nice coating, then lay the fillets on some kitchen foil on a baking tray, drizzle them with olive oil and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes (I didn't time this but I don't think it could take much longer than that as the fillets aren't that big).
  5. While the fillets are cooking, thinly slice the potato, season the slices and put them in the frying pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes on each side until they're golden brown. Blanch the samphire in the boiling water for a couple of minutes and then add to the pan, but keep the water boiling.
  6. Put a bain-marie (that's your mum's glass mixing bowl) on top of the saucepan and add the eggs. Season the egg yolks, beat them vigorously with one hand and slowly add the olive oil with the other - the slower the better, otherwise you're in danger of splitting the sauce like I did. Do as I say, not as I do! Add the lemon juice to finish.
  7. Serve the fillets with the trimmings on the side.

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