Serves 4

"Mackerel are available through the summer, but must be eaten as fresh as possible. I remember catching mackerel off the pier in Dorset's West Bay as a kid and taking them home to cook. They would curl up in the pan, due to rigor mortis because they were so fresh, but the taste was incredible - even to my inexperienced palate. That is one extreme and, unless you fish or know someone who does, you will never experience the taste. Two or three days is probably their maximum keeping time, until they begin to taste bitter.

"Mackerel are available through the summer, but must be eaten as fresh as possible. I remember catching mackerel off the pier in Dorset's West Bay as a kid and taking them home to cook. They would curl up in the pan, due to rigor mortis because they were so fresh, but the taste was incredible - even to my inexperienced palate. That is one extreme and, unless you fish or know someone who does, you will never experience the taste. Two or three days is probably their maximum keeping time, until they begin to taste bitter.

"Gooseberry sauce sounds like an odd thing to combine with the fish, but the two come into season at more or less the same time and the acidity of the gooseberries complements mackerel perfectly. Frozen gooseberries are available all year round and are very good in the sauce."

4 whole mackerel, each about 200g (7oz), cleaned and heads removed
Good knob of butter
250g (9oz) gooseberries, topped and tailed
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 glass of white wine
150ml ( 1/4 pint) double cream
Oil, to brush
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Make 4 or 5 slashes diagonally across the mackerel with a sharp knife, scoring through the skin into the flesh. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to high.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the gooseberries with the sugar, cover and cook over a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gooseberries have broken down. Add the white wine, increase the heat and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the cream, boil then simmer until the sauce has reduced by half and thickened. You may need to add more sugar.

Meanwhile, brush the mackerel with a little oil and cook under the grill for about 6-8 minutes. Serve on warm plates with gooseberry sauce.

Comments