Fire up your barbecue and feel the heat with Smoked Chilli Harissa marinated mackerel. The oily mackerel absorbs the heat, and gentle smokiness of the Harissa marinade. Served along side a refreshing grilled grape and cucumber salad to counter the punchy flavours of the spicy fish.
4 whole mackerel, gutted and fins removed (ask the fishmonger to do this)
2 tbsp Smoked Chilli Harissa
1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
400-500g bunch of red or white grapes
1 bunch parsley, approx. 30g
1 small bunch mint, approx. 15/20g
1 small bunch dill, approx. 20g and roughly chopped
200g crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
Mix the Smoked Chilli Harissa and the juice of 1 lime together in a small pot till combined.
Place the mackerel on a board and cut around 4 slashes, around 1-2cm deep, into the flesh on both sides. Use your fingers or a brush to apply a light layer of marinade on each fish, keeping some back for applying during cooking. Cover and leave to marinade for a few hours if possible.
Begin making the salad once your BBQ has been started. Lay the cucumber on a board then Use a peeler to cut ribbons from the cucumber, taking a few strips off, then turning the cucumber around. Repeat until you get to the seeds and place in a large bowl. When the BBQ is hot, lay the bunch of grapes onto the grill (keep the stalk on, as makes it much easier to move around) and grill for a few minutes, or until lightly blackened, then pick up and turn. Don’t cook the grapes till they are falling apart, a few minutes on different sides will be enough. When cool, peel from the stalk and add to the cucumber.
Finely chop the parsley and dill, including the stalks then remove the mint leaves from the stalk and chop as well, add to the cucumber and grapes. Season well with salt and pepper, then add the vinegar and oil and toss so that everything is well coated. Taste and add more salt and pepper as you feel necessary.
When your BBQ is hot, season mackerel with salt on both sides then lay on the grill and cook for around 3-4 minutes (depending on size, this could take longer). If flames begin to rise up, move the fish to a cooler area of the grill. You want to char the mackerel rather than burn it. Carefully turn the mackerel over and cook for another 3-4 minutes, brushing with remaining marinade as you cook. It doesn’t take as long as you might think to cook a fish like mackerel and its nice to try and keep it juicy in the middle if possible.
Once cooked, remove the fish from the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Divide the salad between plates and serve with the mackerel, half a lime for squeezing over the fish, and a big spoonful of crème fraiche.