MACKEREL ON THE BARBECUE
Fire up the coals for a summer treat
1 small to medium mackerel per person Two tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard Herbs if available 2 scrubbed lemons cut into wedges.
When the weather permits we do turn to the barbecue and the Captain insists that it is his manly duty to preside over his usual offering of pink chicken, black sausages and far too many burgers. So when I get a chance, I try to find something different – such as mackerel.
Before you start, do remember your barbecue hygiene and once the coals are hot, put on the grilling rack and allow it to heat up thoroughly to kill off any germs.
Get the fishmonger to gut, descale and remove the fins of the fish unless you are able to do it yourself and don’t stuff the cavity. This ensures that the fish cooks quickly and thoroughly throughout.
Let’s assume the sun is shining, the beers are flowing and your guests are ready to eat. Take each mackerel and wipe it with a kitchen towel. Rub some lemon juice and whole grain mustard over the skin and in the cavity. If you have a supply of fresh herbs, either bay leaves or rosemary, lay these over the hot grill and place the fish onto the herbs. Some will stick to the fish but that adds flavour.
Using tongs turn the fish every four minutes making sure that the skin doesn’t burn. During cooking, baste with more lemon juice and olive oil mix, although too much oil will make the coals smoke, spit and flame. The fish will take approximately 12 minutes to cook – largely depending on its size. When cooked, the skin should come easily off, the flesh should fall from the bone, be easily parted with a knife and flakey too. To double check, remove one fish from the rack and thoroughly test it. Serve with lemon wedges, Mediterranean cous cous, which is available in supermarkets, rice or new potatoes and a crisp, green salad.
And, if rain stops play on your party, just follow the same instructions and cook the mackerel under the grill.