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Wednesday 8 February 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Harissa Mackerel

Mackerel is one of my favourite fish. It's cheap and cheerful, yet also rather handsome with its metallic skin. In ye olde days, mackerel was a term for a dandy in England (and the French maquereau is another word for pimp!). A fish after my own heart, flash yet thrifty.

Traditionally mackerel is served with tart sauces made from gooseberries or rhubarb, but it also stands up well to strong spicy flavours like pepper-packed harissa. If you're lazy like me and buy your harissa ready made, don't go for a really cheap one as they're often made from carrots/beetroot rather than peppers and chilli as they should be. Belazu makes a fabulous rose-infused harissa.

Harissa Mackerel (serves 2)
You'll need:
  • 4 fillets of fresh mackerel
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1/2tsp paprika
  • Knob of butter
  • A little cooking oil
  • 1tbsp harissa
  • Zest & juice of a lemon
Make it!
  • Mix together the flour and paprika with a little salt and pepper. Dust the fillets in the flour and shake off any excess.
  • Heat the butter and oil together in a frying pan. The oil helps to stop the butter burning.
  • Put the fillets into the pan skin-side down. Fry until the skin starts to crisp and the flesh has cooked most of the way through.
  • Flip the fillets over and cook on the other side for around 30 seconds.
  • Add the harissa, lemon zest and juice to the pan and spoon over the fillets for a further few seconds.
  • Serve with some cous cous and a watercress salad. 

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