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Mackerel with salted grapes, cucumber, yogurt and fennel herb
Mackerel with salted grapes, cucumber, yogurt and fennel herb
Italian
Main
1.5 hours
Fish
Easy
Serves
2

The cooling effects of yogurt and cucumber are well documented- whether in India as a raita, Greece as a tatziki or in Turkey as a Cacik- the combination helps protect from the heat but also tempers spices and strong flavours and cuts through the fattiness of meat or fish.

This dish was inspired by a lunch I had in Cordoba in Andalucia on a baking hot July day - pickled cucumbers served with piping hot grilled mullets and a dollop of yogurt on top - I’ve added some salted grapes into the mix for a sweet - salty edge and chosen mackerel, as its simply one of my favourites but choose any meaty fish for this.

Try to get the small, firm-pickling cucumbers for this - other wise a regular cucumber will do but you’ll need to take out the watery center.

Recipe courtesy of
Ingredients
  • 4 mackerel fillets, skin lightly scored with a sharp knife
  • 4 very small cucumbers- trimmed and peeled into strips OR 1 medium cucumber, trimmed, center removed and peeled into strips 90 ml water
  • 80ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 16 green seedless grapes
  • 16 black seedless grapes
  • 100ml thick Greek yogurt
  • A handful fennel herb or dill
  • Olive oil, sea salt and black pepper
Method
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Method
  1. Heat an oven to 120C
  2. Place the water, sugar, saffron and vinegar in a pan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat; pour over the cucumbers and cover. Transfer to the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
  3. Cut the grapes in half lengthwise, place on a tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and then sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven and dry out for 30 minutes- the grapes should have slightly shriveled.
  4. Heat a large non stick sauté pan over a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Season the mackerel fillets and when the oils hot place the fish in, skin side down carefully pressing the fish down to flatten them as they bow. Cook for 4 minutes until the skin has browned and crisped and then flip the fillets over and cook for a further 2 minutes until the fish is just cooked through.
  5. To serve spoon the yogurt onto serving plates, then add the pickled cucumber, salted grapes and the mackerel. Sprinkle over the fennel herb and serve.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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