I was standing at Terry’s the Fishmonger wondering how to make friends with some fine looking mackerel. It comes under the heading of food I know to be good, cheap and nutritious, yet I have a definite resistance to. I blame being force-fed disgusting school dinners. Not keen on stew (although call it casserole and it’s fine), pies and liver for the same reason. With mackerel, I found it too oily. But I vaguely remembered reading that the oiliness works well with horseradish, so with that in mind, I thought I’d try it. Bought two, heads off and gutted (the fish I mean). My kitchen knives are an invitation to trouble, being too blunt for anything that resists, especially slippery fish.
With the mackerel home, I put on some Kirsty McColl and opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Half a glass down, singing ‘In these shoes? I don’t think so’, I sloshed some olive oil into an oven dish and added a layer of tomato slices. Slithers of garlic went on top, then the mackerel, with slashes cut into the side. I tucked bay leaves and slices of red onion inside the fish, then smeared a mixture of horseradish, soy sauce, lemon juice and black pepper into the gashes. Finally I chucked over some capers. The fish went into a hot oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, and came out crisp-skinned with a gorgeous smell of garlic and tomatoes. Sourdough and salad leaves mopped the juices and I found the kerpow hit of horseradish and tartness of lemon juice cut the oiliness nicely. Now, any ideas about how I can overcome my phobia about liver? It’s a texture thing.

Scomber Scombrus, aka mackerel. Cheap, tasty and very very
good for you