Bill Granger recipes: From grilled mackerel to crab, our chef creates a spectacular fish feast

One of the joys of Britain is that it's surrounded by water. So grab yourself a freshly caught mackerel or some local crabs

I'm not a great fisherman; I just don't have the patience, but I love the idea of it and, who knows, perhaps in retirement... In the meantime, I still get much more pleasure from shopping for fish when I'm at the seaside than I do in London. Breathing the sea air, knowing how fresh and local it is, I don't need to have fished it myself to enjoy the benefits. 

We're lucky enough to have great friends with a lovely house in Cornwall who kindly invite us over quite regularly. The unspoken agreement is that from the moment the five of us arrive, I'll make up for the invasion by taking over the cooking for the duration of our stay. If I'm honest, with the seafood on offer, it's a role I relish. I can't think of a better way to shake off the stresses of the week than to go for a morning walk, taking in the breathtaking scenery, then coming back with gorgeous produce to cook and eat with friends and family.  

Grilled mackerel with green tomatoes, apple, celery, bulgur salad

Mackerel is such an underrated fish, I really wish people here would embrace it more, like they do in Japan where it's hugely popular. I love the way the skin crisps up and the flesh stays moist and meaty, even if overcooked.

Serves 4

4 mackerels, gutted
2 tbsp harissa
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
5 tbsp bulghur wheat
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp ground allspice
Handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
Small firm tomatoes, halved

To serve

Greek-style yoghurt
Sumac
Olive oil

Slash the mackerel a couple of times on each side with a sharp knife then rub with the harissa. Season with salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set aside.

Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl. Pour in enough boiling water from the kettle to cover it by 2cm or so. Cover with cling film and set aside for 30 minutes.

Combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and allspice in a large bowl. Season with salt and toss through the soaked bulgur wheat, parsley. apple and tomatoes.

Heat the barbecue or a griddle pan until it's hot. Cook the mackerel for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with the salad and yoghurt topped with a little sumac and drizzle of olive oil.

Crab platter is the loveliest, no effort meal you could possibly prepare Crab platter is the loveliest, no effort meal you could possibly prepare (Tamin Jones)
Crab platter with samphire and Dijon mayonnaise

This is the loveliest, no effort meal you could possibly prepare. I've made the mayo from scratch, but a dollop of Dijon stirred through bought mayo would also be totally acceptable. If you're dealing with live crabs, put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before plunging them into a large pan of boiling water for about 15 minutes.

Serves 4

200g samphire
1 tbsp olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
2 cooked crabs, each about 1kg
2 red endives, leaves separated
A few radishes, halved
Soda bread or brown sourdough, to serve

For the Dijon mayonnaise

2 egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
250ml light olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon

Crab platter with samphire and Dijon mayonnaise Crab platter with samphire and Dijon mayonnaise (Tamin Jones)
To remove the meat from the crab, first twist off the claws. Crack the claws open with a rolling pin or hammer and lay on a serving platter. Sit the main body of the crab on its back and twist off the pointed flap. Push the tip of a knife into the edge between the main shell and the body and twist the blade to separate. Push the body up with your hands and remove the spongy "dead man's fingers" (the indigestible gills of the crab) and discard. Use a large knife to cut the main body in half then half again and patiently pick out the white crabmeat. Place it on the platter next to the claws. Use a teaspoon to scoop the brown meat out of the main shell and keep in the fridge for another recipe (I like to use it for pasta).

Add the cooked samphire, endive, radishes and lemon wedges to the platter with the crab. Take to the table with a bowl of mayo and some sliced bread, for everyone to help themselves.

Scallop, prosecco and pea risotto

When making risotto at this time of year, I like to follow the lead of the Venetians by keeping it extra wet and loose. The result is lighter, fresher and altogether more summery. Oh and if you're looking for an excuse to crack open a bottle of prosecco, look no further…

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
350g risotto rice
150ml dry vermouth
1.25l fresh fish stock, hot
100ml prosecco
30g diced cold butter
350g scallops, diced if large
200g fresh cooked peas, roughly chopped
A handful of pea shoots

Scallop, prosecco and pea risotto Scallop, prosecco and pea risotto (Tamin Jones)
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Cook the shallots for 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the vermouth and a ladle of fish stock. Add more stock bit by bit, stirring all the time.

When the rice is nearly al dente, add the prosecco, butter, scallops and peas and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir quickly for a minute to emulsify. Cover and allow to rest off the heat for 2-3 minutes then beat again and add a little more stock or prosecco to taste. Serve with pea shoots scattered over the top.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill_granger

 

Food preparation: Rosie Reynolds and Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

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