Pan-fried mackerel with red wine vinegar, horseradish and crème fraîche

Pan-fried mackerel with red wine vinegar, horseradish and crème fraîche

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Mackerel is a beautiful rich, oily fish that needs to be eaten very fresh to be fully enjoyed. The sharpness of the vinegar helps to cut the richness and the heat of the horseradish and soft, sweet-sour flavour of crème fraîche make this a lovely dish. Serve it with some little warm potatoes that have been dressed with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped flat leaf parsley, or, as I do in the summer, with a bowl of green beans.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 medium or 8 small mackerel, cleaned, and filleted if preferred
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
4cm piece of fresh horseradish
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
220ml creme fraiche

Method

  1. Start by making the sauce. Peel the horseradish and grate it as finely as possible. (Be careful though, as very fresh horseradish will make you cry!) Tip the grated horseradish into a bowl and pour on the wine vinegar. Stir well to combine. Fold in the crème fraîche and season generously with salt, but only the smallest pinch of pepper. Set aside while you cook the fish.
  2. If leaving the fish whole, rinse the cavity and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slits on both sides of each fish. Brush the fish with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over a high heat. If you are cooking the fish filleted, season the skin side only and pour the oil into the pan rather than rub it over the fish.
  3. When the pan is hot, lay the fish in the pan – fillets should be placed skin side down. Cook whole fish without moving for 3 minutes on one side, then turn the fish over and cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Cook fillets for 4 minutes only without turning – just allow the flesh to cook through the skin side, for a more delicate texture. The skin should have turned from silver to almost bronze and be papery thin and just crisp.
  4. Arrange the fish on warm plates. Spoon the horseradish sauce alongside and serve piping hot – the best way to enjoy oily fish.
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