Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Pan Fried Mackerel Fillets with Feta Cheese Stuffed Olives and Peashoots Salad

Pan fried mackerel fillets are laid on the salad bed and served with garlic toast

Mackerel is one of my favourite eating fish. At this time of year, when my sea fishing trips can see mackerel caught aplenty, finding new and innovative ways to serve the fish can be a challenge. This pan fried mackerel fillets with a partially Greek themed salad was an experiment which I believe worked very well and if you do have access to fresh mackerel, I hope you'll give something like this a try.

Ingredients per Person

1 whole fresh mackerel (ungutted)
6 black olives, pitted
6 green olives, pitted
1oz Greek feta cheese (approximately)
Generous handful of peashoots
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
Sea salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
2 thick slices of farmhouse bread
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crush
3 or 4 large basil leaves to garnish, finely sliced

Pitted olives are stuffed with feta cheese for salad


It's a good idea to begin by assembling your salad. Wash the pea shoots, shake them as dry as you can and lay them on your serving plate. Cut the feta cheese in to appropriately sized pieces and carefully stuff in to the olives. Arrange the olives on top of the peashoots, season with black pepper only (you should get enough salt from the feta cheese) and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Feta cheese stuffed olives and peashoots salad is assembled

The reason why you should use a mackerel ungutted if at all possible is that it is much easier to fillet than one that has had its innards removed. Begin by lying the mackerel on a steady chopping board on one side and above all, make sure you use a proper filleting knife for this job or you are inviting disaster. If you don't have a proper filleting knife, bargains aplenty can be found on Amazon or Amazon UK and if looked after properly, these knives should last you for years. Below are a couple of examples in each instance you may seriously wish to consider if you are intending filleting fish of any type.

First fillet is sliced cleanly from the whole mackerel

Cut in at an angle behind the pectoral (head) fin, through to the bone, then twist the knife carefully and slice off the first fillet along the bone, all the way to the tail. Turn the mackerel over and simply do exactly the same on the other side to remove the second fillet.

A v-shaped cut is made to remove the bones from the mackerel fillets

Lay the fillets flat on their skin sides and make a narrow, v-shaped cut - slicing on either side of the central bone system - careful not to go through the skin. You should then be easily able to lift this bone free. The remaining bones, over the stomach cavity, should be pulled out in the direction they are lying. Wash the fillets carefully in a bowl of cold water, ensuring you remove the dark skin that covers the one time stomach cavity. Pat them carefully dry with kitchen paper.

Mackerel fillets are patted on their skin sides in seasoned flour

Bring some vegetable oil up to a fairly high heat in a non-stick frying pan. Scatter the flour on a plate and season. Pat the mackerel fillets on their skin sides only in the flour and gently shake off the excess. Lay the fillets skin side down in the pan and season the flesh sides lightly with salt and pepper. Fry for two or three minutes until you can see the fillets are cooked most of the way through then reduce the heat to minimum and carefully turn them over to complete cooking in what will be about a further minute.

Thick slices of bread are cut for toasting

The bread should be sliced and put on to toast after you have turned the mackerel fillets on to their flesh sides.

Finishing frying the mackerel fillets on their flesh side

When the mackerel is done, use a fish slice or spatula to carefully lift it on to the salad bed as shown below.

Mackerel fillets are laid on the feta cheese stuffed olives and peashoots salad

Rub the hot toast with the crushed garlic clove before halfing each slice and arranging around the edges of the plate. Drizzle with more olive oil if desired before scattering over the sliced basil as a final garnish before service.

A crushed garlic clove is rubbed over the hot toast

No comments:

Post a Comment