What's not to love about doing a spot of fishing for the likes of seabass? Of course its a top fish we all want, a prize catch if ever there was. Undoubtedly though, if bass is the target, the likelihood of hitting a run of mackerel at this time of the year scores pretty high, so being prepared for it will always come in quite handy. The way things are going out there on the high seas also brings to mind the fact that little oily wonders in the shape of mackerel should really be in our baskets, on our plates and in our bellies when they're coming out the water in relative abundance. Dead healthy, really quick to prepare, even quicker to cook. What's not to love about a fresh mackerel indeed?
Seared mackerel fillet with red onion marmalade
4 mackerel fillets, about 100g each
Olive oil, for brushing the fish
Small bunch of chives, to garnish
For the onion marmalade
50g salted butter
Splash of olive oil
4 red onions, finely sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml sherry vinegar
25g dark soft brown sugar
50g pomegranate seeds
To make the onion marmalade, melt the butter with the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until well softened, being careful not to allow the onions to burn or colour too much.
Add the vinegar, sugar, and pomegranate, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the marmalade comes together as a mass. Turn out into a dish and keep warm at the side of the hob.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Heat an ovenproof frying pan to very hot, brush the mackerel fillets on both sides with a little olive oil and lay in the pan, skin-side down. After 3 minutes, sprinkle the flesh side of the fillets with a little salt and pepper and transfer the pan to the oven for 2–3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until cooked through.
Cut the lime in half and then cut four thin slices from the middle. Make a slit in each slice from the centre to the outside edge and give each a half twist. Finely pare the zest from the remaining lime.
Place one mackerel fillet onto each serving plate, squeeze the lime juice over and sprinkle with a little of the zest. Place a spoonful of the onion marmalade alongside and garnish with 2 or 3 chives and a twist of lime