Grilled Mackerel with Polenta and Caponata
I love mackerel. Not only is it a reet beauty in its whole, raw form (well, for a fish anyway) but its meaty and strong flavoured flesh is feisty enough to stand up to many a tempting accompaniment.
Good with everything from mustardy new potato and watercress salad, to a tangy pickled beets, on this particular Sunday night I felt like cooking up something more robust to lay my mackerel’s sparkly sides upon, and thus, feeling inspired by the rare afternoon of sunshine bestowed upon London town, I opted for a Mediterranean sweet and sour stew of aubergine, cherry tomato and chorizo, flavoured with balsamic vinegar.
2 mackerel, filleted and butterflied.
4 inches chorizo
1 large onion, roughy chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped into 1” cubes
14 cherry plum tomatoes
1 400g can of plum tomatoes
100ml balsamic vinegar
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp green olives, roughly chopped
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
A handful of grilled polenta balls, or cubes
1 large handful of fresh parsley
1 large handful fresh basil
1) Season the mackerel and place under a hot grill, skin side down, for 7 minutes, turn over and grill skin side up for another 3, or until the skin is crispy, but not burned.
2) Slice the chorizo thinly, and place in a cold pan, set over a medium heat.
3) Once the chorizo has omitted enough ruby red fat, chuck in the onion, with a pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until beginning to turn translucent.
4) Add the aubergine, with a splash of olive oil and stir to coat evenly in oil, then let cook for about 5-7 until brown patches form.
5) Chuck in the cherry tomatoes until they start to soften.
6) Add the balsamic vinegar, thyme, chilli, can of tomatoes, sugar and a splash of water.
7) Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the head and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
8) Remove from the heat and add the olives, pine nuts and most of the parsley and basil, and a generous grind of black pepper, and mix well.
9) Serve in shallow bowls, topped with the grilled mackerel fillets, the remainder of the soft herbs, and a wedge of lemon, and scattered with chunks of grilled polenta.