My daughters boyfriend came round with some mackerel and asked if I could make my mums recipe .My first real life cooking demonstration of this happened in the seychelles when I was 4. I was sitting in my grandmothers back garden and she was crouched over a wood burning fire with a grill rack perched on this,(its the grill part of the barbeque) and on it lay eight or so mackerel from the indian ocean which are similar to their uk brothers.
The fragrance of woody smoke coupled with the fish crisping and often having burnt bits has remained one of my favourite scents. It is the scent of summer, it is such an evocative scent whenever fish is barbequed I am often transported back to that moment.My dad was in the yard overlooking his mum as he had prepared the fish sipping a cold seybrew beer.
This has remained with me forever and I only realised I do the same thing when I get the wood stove going, light lager in hand, tongs in the other ,plates of fish seasoned and I'm ready to rock. God, I do love the theatre of cooking.
Grilled mackerel; serves 6 to 8
2 large mackerel, if you have access to billingsgate fish market you can often get the mackerel from the indian ocean.Smaller then the uk ones.Beautiful flavour, if not available dont worry the recipe has been made with uk mackerel I love this fish so much.
1 to 2 lemons depending on how large they are if they are big and juicy use one.
1tsp turmeric (this is something my mum does and her fish is the best )
This fish is done in stages so with the ingredients above take the fish removed guts and clean the stomach cavity .Slash the fish .Squeeze the lemon over the fish and in the stomach, this firms the fish add salt and pepper,turmeric. Set aside and prepare the other ingredients.
6 to 12 chillies depending on how hot you like it .I love chillies so I use 12. cut into smallesr pieces
10g ginger peeled and cut in thick bits.
thyme about 10 little branches.
parsley a good handful chopped.
In a pestle and mortar, (I have done this in a processor and in my opinion it does not have the same flavour the pounded action somehow develops a different flavour than the machine).Add the chillies,ginger, thyme, parsley,and pound until mixed .Add salt and lemon juice to taste it should have a kick and it should have a little citric tang.Use this mixture to stuff the slashes of the fish. WARNING; please be careful with this mixture it is very hot ,do wash your hands throughly and be careful if you need to go to the tiolet,watch your eyes, It really burns!
At this stage the fish can be left quite happily.I often prepare this in the morning leave covered in the fridge and cook it in the evening.The flavours intensify.
When ready to cook set the grill on the cooker to the highest setting and grill the fish on either side if it starts to burn a little too quickly reduce the flame and cook slower, we do however want the fish a deep dark colour , you are trying to replicate the flavour you would get from a barbeque deeply charred and very smoky. It works very well in a conventional grill but taste even better cooked outdoors on wood burning fire/grill.