The final delightful instalment of our cooking series from Simon Stallard’s new cookbook, The Hidden Hut, is a delicious mackerel recipe, perfect for summer evenings
Words Simon Stallard
Photography Susan Bell
A simple mackerel recipe from The Hidden Hut
2 large raw beetroots, unpeeled, washed and leaves trimmed to 3cm
A squeeze of lemon juice
300g waxy potatoes, cut lengthways into 5mm slices
4 smoked mackerel fillets
4 tbsp light olive oil
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
8 basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the beetroot in a large saucepan with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt
Bring the water to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35–40 minutes, or until tender throughout and a knife can be inserted easily.
Meanwhile, after the beetroot has been cooking for 20 minutes, start cooking the potatoes.
Put them in a saucepan of cold, salted water over a high heat.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10–12 minutes.
Remove the skin from the mackerel fillets, then cut away a lengthways strip down the middle of the fillets to remove the pin bones and a small amount of the flesh. Put to one side.
Using a sharp knife, cut a thin slice of peel and pith from one end of each orange. Put, cut side down, in a shallow bowl and cut off the peel and pith in strips. Remove any remaining pith. Cut out each orange segment, leaving the membrane behind. Squeeze the remaining juice from the membrane into the bowl.
Whisk the olive oil and mustard into the orange juice. Season, going easy on the salt, as the mackerel will be salty.
When the beetroot is cooked, scrape off the skin using a knife, then slice thinly.
Drain the potatoes and tip them back into the warm pan. Drizzle with a little of the orange dressing.
Put the watercress in a bowl and remove any thick stems. Tear in the basil leaves. Add a tablespoon of the dressing and toss the leaves to coat them lightly in the dressing.
Lay the warm potato and beetroot slices on a platter. Scatter over the dressed leaves and orange segments. Flake the mackerel into large chunks over the top and finish by drizzling with a little more dressing.
Serve any remaining dressing on the side.