Summertime food for me will always be mackerel. For some it’s strawberries and cream, for others its caprese salad. For me it’s mackerel, straight out of the Atlantic, fishing with my Dad, collecting a bucket-full of the little torpedo shaped blighters, still contorted with rigor and ready to be devoured as soon as possible.
This is one of the easiest and most fool proof way of cooking fish. You will see it crop up time and time again on restaurant menus and in cookbooks. It can be made in advance if you are having a dinner party or whipped together in minutes on a lazy Wednesday night.
It is also seriously adaptable. I used the ingredients here but you can use it with any herbs and light vegetables and pretty much any small fish. Experiment and you never know what combinations you will find.
1 Whole gutted Mackerel
1 Small Leek
1 Small Bunch of Coriander
1 Small bunch of Thyme
50ml Cider/fish stock/chicken stock/veg stock/white wine/water
-Rinse and finely slice up the leek, (remove a lot of the thick green tips as they are a bit tough to eat) and slice the lemon.
-Take one long piece of wide tin foil and double it over so you parcel is good and thick.
-Place a few of the sliced leeks and lemon slices in the middle of your foil along with a little coriander and thyme.
-Now place the Mackerel on top.
-Stuff the Mackerel with more of the leeks, lemon and the herbs.
-Cover the fish with any remaining stuffing and season well with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
-Now wrap the fish by folding one of the long sides of the tin foil over the other and sealing it tightly.
-Into this end, pour the liquid. I had a bit of cider in the fridge so I used that but any stock or wine would work well. You want some kind of flavourful liquid that is going to steam the fish in the oven.
-Wrap up that end tightly so you are left with a completely sealed, tin foil parcel of goodness.
-Place this parcel on a baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about fifteen to seventeen minutes depending on the size of your fish.
-When it comes out of the oven pierce the foil and savour the smell and the steam. This is a glorious thing to eat.
The foil parcel makes a ready-made bowl. The leeks and herbs have cooked down to create an incredible salad. The oil and juice from the mackerel have combined with the cider to create an incredible sauce and the fish is light and flaky and fragrant. I can’t imagine a more perfectly well contained meal.