Quick soused mackerel with bread and butter pickles

When I say quick I don’t mean immediate, but this light supper is doable in a day if you souse the mackerel and make the pickles in the morning to eat that evening.

You could also use herrings, sardines or anchovies here.

Serves 2
rye bread 2 slices
crème fraîche 60ml
dill fronds from 3 stalksfinely chopped
sea salt

For the soused mackerel:
carrot 1, small, cut into thin rounds
fennel bulb 1, trimmed and finely sliced
banana shallot 1, finely sliced
coriander seeds 1 tsp
fennel seeds 1 tsp
black peppercorns ½ tsp
juniper berries 4
sugar 6 tbsp
white wine vinegar 300ml 
mackerel 4 fillets, cleaned

For the bread and butter pickles:
chicory 1 small head, cut lengthways into 6 wedges
red onion 1, small, finely sliced
cucumber ½, small , peeled and sliced
kohlrabi ½ , peeled and finely sliced
cider vinegar 250ml
sugar 125g
bay leaf 1
lemon ½, juice and zest

For the soused mackerel, put the carrot, fennel, shallot, coriander and fennel seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, sugar and 1 tsp of salt in a saucepan.

Pour in the vinegar and 300ml of water and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the carrot is just cooked.

Pat the mackerel fillets dry and place flesh-side down in a shallow glass or ceramic dish.

Pour over the sousing liquid and leave to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Next make the bread and butter pickles. Take a lidded glass jar or plastic container big enough to hold all the vegetables and put in the chicory, followed by the onion, then the cucumber and the kohlrabi. Put the vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and lemon juice and zest into a small stainless steel saucepan.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the hot pickling liquor over the vegetables, then seal the container and leave to cool before refrigerating.

The pickles are ready after 6 to 8 hours, but will improve with a few days or even a couple of weeks under their belts.

When you want to eat, lift the mackerel fillets from the sousing liquid and cut in half.

Toast the rye bread and serve with the fish and pickles, a dollop of crème fraîche and a scattering of dill and sea salt.

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