Thursday, July 8, 2010

Easy peasy Mackerel and lemon squeezy broadbean risotto

There are so many things to do with mackerel. I will be doing a post on how to salt them, even if only to record how to preserve fish for others.
But fresh, local, line caught mackerel is a real treat. I must thank Syed Taqi for passing a few my way, they certainly wont go to waste.
The main way I cook mackerel myself is in a Normandy style - but I saw this recipe from the great Mark Hix of the UK's independent newspaper.
Having fresh peas and broad beans in the garden, it seemed to be a natural choice when I got the first mackerel of this season.
There are several recipes that do mackerel with fruits like cranberry, apple, gooseberry, rhubarb etc.
I think the idea is that the acid in the fruit can cut through the oils in the fish.

Mackerel is like Irish tuna, fairly plentiful, packed with Omega 3 oils and it adapts easily with different flavours.
There are so many great cuisines that do rice and fish, Indonesia, China, Spain with their paella and others.

I feel there is a real automatic temptation to reach for new potato's and fresh mackerel, in itself a great meal.
A great favorite locally is salted mackerel with new potato's and loads of butter.

But just to be a little different I went with a risotto with fresh broad beans from the garden.

If the mackerel are small, then use two fillets per person, or alternatively you could ask your fishmonger to butterfly them.

4 fillets from a large mackerel, weighing about 100-120g each, or 8 smaller ones
1tbsp flour for dusting
1tbsp olive oil
100g butter
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
The grated zest and juice of one orange
100ml veg stock
120-150g shelled weight of peas, cooked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat half the butter in a pan and gently cook the shallots for a couple of minutes until soft, add the orange zest and juice, fish stock and peas, season and simmer for 2-3 minutes,

Stir in the rest of the butter until emulsified and remove from the heat.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy or non-stick frying pan.
Lightly flour the mackerel on the skin side and season.
Fry the fillets skin-side down, first for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crisp, then turn them and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side.
Spoon the peas on to serving plates; lay the fillets on top.

This risotto is really easy-peasy-lemon squeezy

350g (12 oz)  broad beans
Salt and pepper
15g (1 tbsp) butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
200g (7 oz) arborio (risotto) rice
1 litre (1¾ pints) hot vegetable stock
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Optional, Grated Parmesan

Optional, to give it a Spanish flavour you could add some prawns and saffron - maybe a tiny dash of sherry vinegar.

1.Cook the broad beans in a large pan of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes or until just tender. Plunge into ice-cold water to cool. Drain, peel off the outer skin, if wished, and set aside.

2.Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes.

3.Pour in a ladle full of the hot stock and simmer gently, stirring frequently until the rice has absorbed most of it. Keep adding the stock in this way until the rice is tender but still has bite to it; this will take about 15-20 minutes. The risotto should look creamy and soft when cooked.

4.Add the broad beans, lemon rind and juice and warm through.

5.Serve the risotto immediately, garnished with grated Parmesan and lemon rind.
The mackerel is also great with new potato's or a simple green salad with a french or Caribbean dressing.
I'll have my own shots of the meal up in the next few days.

Great thing about fishy leftovers like guts, heads etc. is that I have a professional disposal team for leftovers

This is a great meal in terms of prep time, your looking at 25 minutes between fridge and plate.
Frying pan and pot's for stock, peas and risotto

All go, from pantry to plating up in 25 mins

Alternate presentation with risotto

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