Fresh mackerel is a wonderful fish which can absorb the flavours of its natural surroundings whether it be the Harissa and sumac of Morocco or the Provençal flavours of France.
This simple dish evokes the delicate flavours of southern France by simply using orange and rosemary.
8 fillets of super fresh mackerel (two per head)
Several sprigs of rosemary (more or less depending on the strength you want)
1 orange, slice off about 3 or 4 thick strips of peel
Extra Virgin olive oil
Pepper and salt
1/2 a lemon
Finely chopped chives
Wedges of lemon to serve
Slice the skin of each mackerel fillet three times on the diagonal. Make sure that you only slice the skin, try not to go deep into the flesh. Place the fillets in a shallow dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a good grinding of black pepper and a hearty glug of extra virgin olive oil. Add the sprigs of rosemary and the orange peel strips. Gently toss the mackerel around with your hands and make sure that all the flavours rub in the flesh. Leave to marinate for a good hour.
When you are ready to cook, set your grill onto the highest temperature. Get an oven tray and line it with foil. Drizzle the foil with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little pepper and salt (you can always rub some butter on the foil instead of oil). Place the mackerel fillets on the tray, skin side up. Tuck the orange peel and rosemary in and around the fillets. Pop the tray under the grill and let the mackerel cook for about five minutes or until the skin has blistered and is good and crispy. You can also tell that the mackerel are ready by touch – gently touch the side of a fillet and if the skin can just peel up off the flesh the fish is perfectly cooked. As soon as you take the mackerel out of the oven, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.
Carefully place the fillets onto a flat plate, sprinkle with the chopped chives (and some of the grilled orange peel and rosemary for decoration of you like) and serve with lemon wedges. Delicious eaten with a crisp, sharp salad.