Smoked mackerel is a huge family favourite and as such is worth hot smoking in bulk so that there’s always a fillet or two available from the freezer too, writes Sandra Tate...
Hot Smoking the Mackerel
I prefer a sugar/salt brine as the sugar seems to make for a milder sweet smoke flavour. For 4 mackerel, filleted and cleaned, mix 50g sea salt with 60g light brown sugar and juice of a small lemon with 500ml hot water until dissolved, then allow to cool completely. In a snug container, immerse the fillets and leave for 30 minutes then rinse off thoroughly, pat dry and lay on Bradley steel wire baskets, spaced apart from each other. Leave the fillets to dry in a cool, airy, place for an hour (not the fridge) whilst you heat the Bradley Smoker cabinet to 190°F/85°C, load with Oak Bisquettes, and smoke for about 45 mins – 1 hour or until cooked to an internal temperature of 72°C Allow to cool then refrigerate until needed.
For the Salad Nicoise
2 fillets of hot smoked mackerel; 1 medium potato, scrubbed and cut into chunks; 3 small plum tomatoes, quartered; 50g fine beans; 2 eggs; a few olives; chopped parsley
For the Dressing:
Mix together 1 rounded tsp horseradish, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp sugar & 1 tbsp white wine vinegar to a paste, then start to slowly whisk in sunflower oil until you have a thick, luxurious emulsion. Set aside.
1 Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the potato chunks, after 5 minutes add the eggs to the same pan and continue to boil for 6 minutes then lift the eggs out and peel and halve. Add the fine beans to the pan and boil a further 2 minutes, test the potatoes to make sure they are tender, then drain all and keep warm.
2 Heat the grill to hot. Sit the fillets on foil, skin side up and grill until the skin is blistering and crisp, remove.
3 Divide the potatoes and beans between warmed plates, scatter with quartered tomatoes, 4 egg halves, chopped parsley and top with 2 hot smoked mackerel fillets. Drizzle with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.