Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) are so much part of traditional Britain that they are used to name a type of cloud pattern – Mackerel sky. They can be caught off beaches and piers, like this one at Cromer. Mackerel popularity goes up and down – once used for bait and now a pretty trendy item, they seem to have lost their MSC certification for the time being at least owing to high international demand and a lack of agreement on stock allocation.
However, I dug one out of the freezer to make this quick and delicious stir fry. Practically all ingredients may be exchanged for something else.
- Ingredients: One whole mackerel fresh or fully defrosted. 100g basmati rice (white or brown). A small bunch of spring greens, one red pepper, two shallots, one chilli (optional), one piece of ginger, a splash of olive oil, a shake of soy sauce, coriander leaves.
- Alternatives: Mackerel fillets, pak choi, green pepper, onions.
First cook the rice. Then add the oil to a wok and when it is hot add the sliced shallots, ginger, pepper, chilli and garlic. Stir around until the vegetables begin to soften and add the shredded greens. Continue to stir over a medium heat until the greens are soft. Empty the contents of the wok on top of the rice and leave.
Heat up the wok and add slices of mackerel cut straight through the bone (remove the head first). Cook for several minutes on one side, then flip and cook on the other side or place under a grill until the skin is blistering and the flesh is flaking. Then carefully remove the flesh from the spine bones and check to see the fish is cooked all the way through. If not place it raw side down in the wok for another few minutes. Remove as many bones and spines as possible and stay alert when eating.
Garnish with coriander, parsley or chives and a shake of soy sauce.