The mackerel down in Dorset made an early appearance this year in mid-March, which has been great news for both fishermen and diners. A good fresh mackerel is one of the finest tasting fish you'll ever have, with its rich, slightly oily flesh. If the mackerel are small you can butterfly them like kippers; ask your fishmonger to do this if you aren't that confident with a filleting knife and ensure all the small bones are removed – or, if the mackerel are medium to large, then just fillet them and serve one decent-sized fillet per person.
You can serve these as they are with a simple leafy salad or some lightly cooked spinach.
4 x medium-sized mackerel or 2 large ones, prepared as above
40g butter, melted
80-100g fresh white breadcrumbs
60g freshly grated Parmesan
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp grain mustard mixed with 1tbsp Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Put the breadcrumbs in a food processor along with the melted butter, Parmesan, parsley and chives. Season and mix for about 10 seconds.
Lightly season the mackerel on both sides and put them on to a lightly oiled baking tray, skin-side up.
Spread the mustard on the skin then lightly press the breadcrumb mixture on to the fish, covering all the skin. Bake for 10-15 minutes, carefully remove with a fish slice and transfer to warmed plates.