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The mackerel have finally arrived in Lyme Bay.

They're very late, maybe having been put off by the orca whale spotted in the bay a couple of weeks back or the dolphins that have been close into the shore. Until we can figure out the language of fish, well never know the reasons for their impertinent tardiness.

I took my six year old daughter Isla out in the boat at the weekend with my friend Paddy and his six year old son Flynn. Neither of them had caught a fish before, so this was a great opportunity to teach them a bit of boat sense and how to handle fish.

Flynn was more interested in the boat, but Isla insisted on picking every fish up off the deck once I had unhooked them, then she was back on the rod until the next fish were on board. Heres a recipe to make use of your catch.

Trill Farm bean salad with Islas Lyme Bay mackerel

SERVES 4

If you have a large amount of mackerel you can bulk up this recipe and preserve the mackerel fillets in sterilised preserving jars.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium mackerel, filleted
  • 250-300ml extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • A couple turns of black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • A head or two of fennel flowers or 20 or so fennel seeds
  • 200g mixed beans, trimmed and cooked
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
  • 100ml good quality red wine vinegar

Cut each of the mackerel fillets down the centre lengthways, either side of the central bones and cut away any other bones then cut each piece in half.

Put the oil in a pan with the pepper, salt and fennel, bring to a boil then drop in the mackerel carefully, bring back to a gentle boil and remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Meanwhile put the onion in a pan with the vinegar on a high heat and boil for 30 seconds and leave to cool.

To serve mix about half the mackerel cooking oil with the onion mixture and season then toss with the beans.

Arrange the beans and dressing on serving plates with the pieces of mackerel on top.

Read more: How to make the most out of your bolting salad leaves

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