Serves 4-6

As you can probably see this is a bit of a take on a salade Niçoise. With the recent scares about mercury levels in tuna, the mackerel, being a distant relative of the mighty tuna, may have to step in on a few classic dishes. Cooked in this way, there are similarities in flavour to canned tuna of the type that is generally used for a run-of-the-mill salade Niçoise. I actually think that mackerel cooked like this tastes better than some of the bog-standard canned tuna.

1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
tsp cumin seeds
A few sprigs of thyme
2tbsp cider vinegar, plus a little more for the dressing
About 150ml or enough rapeseed oil to cover the mackerel
4 medium or 8 small fresh mackerel fillets
4 free-range hens' eggs, semi soft-boiled for 5 minutes then cooled under a cold tap
6-12 new potatoes, cooked in their skins and halved or quartered
200-250g ripe tomatoes
80-100g green beans, cooked
100-120g podded weight of broad beans, cooked
2 little gems, cleaned and leaves washed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a couple tablespoons of the rapeseed oil in a saucepan and gently cook the shallots, garlic, chilli and all the spices for 2-3 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the rest of the rapeseed oil, the cider vinegar and lemon and heat to a gentle simmer. Season well with sea salt and drop in the mackerel fillets. Bring back to a simmer, cover, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Carefully peel the eggs and rinse under a cold tap. Remove the mackerel from the oil and strain the liquid through a fine meshed sieve. Whisk the oil up and add some more vinegar to taste for the dressing.

To serve, shell any large broad beans if you wish and cut the tomatoes into wedges or chunks. Toss the little gems with some of the dressing, beans, potatoes and tomatoes and season then arrange in bowls. Break the mackerel into chunks and arrange on the leaves then halve or quarter the eggs and arrange on top. Spoon over more dressing and serve.

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