Packed with flavour, this mackerel dish is a beautiful blend of sweet, sour, spice and crunch.
Mackerel is such a robust fish, it makes the perfect vehicle for more powerful flavours. Not only is it one of the most beautiful fish to look at, it has amazing health benefits. Packed with omega 3 fatty acids and low in saturated fat, it really is a ‘super food’.
Although I’m championing mackerel in this post, the recipe works really well with a butterflied chicken breast and you could also use any firm fleshed fish. Credit to my sister-in-law for introducing me to mango salsa. I’ve tweaked it with the addition of avocado but that can be left out. We have it with everything, especially BBQ!
35g shelled pistachios, per pair of fillets
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh coriander, per pair of fillets
2 tbsp breadcrumbs, per pair of fillets (I use panko as they’re nice and crunchy)
1 whole lime, juiced (some of this juice will be used in the salsa)
2 mackerel fillets per person
1 level tsp chipotle chilli and smoked paprika paste, per pair of fillets (available in most supermarkets)
1 tsp olive oil
For the salsa
Flesh of 1 large mango, finely diced
Flesh of 1 avocado, finely diced
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1/2 a cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and finely diced
1/2 a large red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
A good squeeze of lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with lightly oiled foil.
Make the salsa first to give the flavours time to develop. Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Make the crumb topping by placing the pistachios in a pestle and mortar and bashing them to a medium sized crumb. It doesn’t have to be completely uniform. Add the breadcrumbs and chopped coriander, and dampen the mix with a squeeze of lime juice. Add a good grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt and mix well.
Remove the line of pin bones which run down the centre of each mackerel fillet by laying them skin side down on a chopping board and running a sharp knife along each side of the bone line, being careful not to slice through the skin. If your fillets are nice and fresh you should now be able to pull the line of bones out in one go, leaving a thin channel down the centre of the fillet.
In a small bowl, place the chipotle paste, olive oil and a squeeze of lime. Mix well and paint this mixture onto the flesh side of each fillet. Divide the crumb mixture evenly between the fillets and press it down gently to secure.
Place the fillets on the lined baking tray and back for 20 minutes.
I served them with the salsa, some dressed rocket and some sliced boiled new potatoes dressed while warm in olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, fresh coriander and mint. It was terrific!