Tuesday, 11 July 2017

David Llewellyn: Return of the Mackerel

Originally published in Taste Swansea magazine, Issue #11, July 2017

With barbecues across the country tentatively waiting for the sun to be out long enough to fire up, make sure you have some mackerel nearby - just one of the ways to serve this beautiful fish, as innovation and development chef DAVID LLEWELLYN explains.

Growing up beside the sea has always heavily influenced me. I continuously miss the beauty of our coastline whenever I am away. But it is not just the scenery and serenity I miss – it’s the glorious list of fresh seafood it provides.


Fresh fish on display is a true spectacle, and none holds the same striking beauty as mackerel. A member of the tuna family, these beautiful fish are packed full of goodness and being caught just off our shores they arrive to our local markets in stunning condition. Mackerel are naturally an oily fish, so love acidic and smokey flavours.

Simply rub all over in olive oil and sea salt, and put straight on the BBQ for a few minutes each side until the flesh just falls away from the bone. Squeeze over plenty of fresh lemon juice and serve with a light fresh watercress salad for a simple gorgeous supper.

To elevate it, ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you then mix together some chopped tinned anchovies, diced sun-dried tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, fresh breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Place one fillet skin side down, then spoon your stuffing mix on top. Place another fillet on top so the filling is encased and the skin is on both sides. Tie with some butchers string to stop the filling escaping and drizzle over some olive oil and head back to the BBQ!

Pickling is once again on the forefront of cook’s minds and some pickled cucumber, sliced fresh red chilli and spring onion makes an excellent addition to smoked mackerel on toast. Continuing on the theme of toast, a pate is always a crowd pleaser and great to share.

For a super tasty mackerel pate, take two smoked mackerel fillets and two small fillets of fresh filleted mackerel. Wrap the fresh fillets in foil and bake in the oven or BBQ for around 8-10 minutes until the flesh flakes away from the skin. Set aside to cool, but keep all the juices.

In a large mixing bowl add a heaped tablespoon of soft unsalted butter and mix until light in colour, then flake in the fish (both smoked and cooked fresh), and all the lovely cooking juices. Add two tablespoons of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche and a teaspoon of creamed horseradish.

Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some finely chopped herbs (chives, dill and chervil are all fantastic). Once mixed taste and season to your preference. Serve with fresh bread and a citrusy IPA from one of Taste Swansea’s Boozy Dude recommendations, for a light lunch or party pleaser.

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