Serving 2, you’ll need…
2 whole mackerel
1 tin of flageolet beans
A large handful of samphire
1 punnet mixed cherry tomatoes
A few sprigs of basil
A handful of parsley
1 clove of garlic
Salt & Pepper
To fillet your mackerel…
With the fish lying on its side, score two angled lines – the first one just behind the pectoral fin (after the head) and the second just before the tail.
Now cut along the fish’s spine, from your first score all the way down to the second. Keeping your blade close to the fish’s skeleton, gently work the knife inwards from the spine, using long horizontal strokes to lift the fillet away from the fish as you go.
When you reach the stomach of the fish, slice the fillet away from the fish in one clean cut, avoiding the stomach bones.
Now turn the fish over and repeat with the other side.
When you have two clean fillets, you can start to remove any bones. These run in a line along the centre of each fillet and can be removed with fish tweezers, or simply cut out in a ‘v’, using a knife.
If this description isn’t clear, there are videos on youtube which better explain the method and show you ways to quick-fillet a mackerel.
Place the mackerel fillets in a dish with olive oil, grated garlic, chopped parsley, lemon zest and some cracked black pepper. Cover and leave to marinate.
If you have a BBQ, now would be a good time to fire it up, otherwise set your oven to grill to high. Halve the mixed cherry tomatoes, chop the basil and add to a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Drain and rinse the flageolet beans and pick and wash the samphire, discarding the thick woody part of the stalks. Combine and set aside.
If barbecuing, you can use a grill basket to keep the fish intact when cooking, or you can wing it (like me) and place the fillets directly onto the grill for two minutes each side – just be aware that some of the skin will stick to the grill. For cooking in the oven, simply line up the mackerel fillets, skin side up on a foil-lined, oil brushed baking tray and place under the hot grill. Cook for three minutes, then turn over and grill the underside for one or two more minutes.
Once cooked, set the mackerel fillets aside to rest on a plate. Meanwhile, toss the flageolet beans and samphire in a hot pan with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, until the samphire softens a little and turns to a glossy emerald green.