*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Savouring summer

by
22 August 2014

by Simon Walsh

iStock

CAN summer be complete without a trip to the seaside? Breeze, sand, and chips and fresh fish are just some of its glories. Mackerel are in season throughout the summer, and they surge in late August for the sprats. Throughout Japan and Latin America, it is common to serve fish raw or "cured" by salting or pickling - not unlike our own smoking.

This Mackerel escabèche brings an exotic taste to the familiar. Buy the fish very fresh (never risk it if it seems at all stale), and ask to have it filleted. 

4 fresh mackerel, filleted
3 onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and  rushed
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, sliced down
½ teaspoon each crushed
coriander seeds, black
peppercorns and dried chilli
generous pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
100ml (3 fl. oz) white wine
200ml (6 fl. oz) white-wine
vinegar
1 dessertspoon sugar

Dust the fillets with seasoned flour, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan, and flash-fry them, skin first - no need to cook completely; once done, place them flesh down in a wide earthenware dish.

Splash a touch more oil into the pan, and softly fry two of the onions, garlic, carrot, and celery, without browning them. Add the spices, wine, and vinegar, and bubble up, then simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the sugar, and check it is not too sharp: if so, sweeten a little more.

Scatter the remaining (raw) onion over the fillets, and pour the mixture over. Once it is cool, cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve at room temperature with salad and plain boiled rice or new potatoes.

Apparently, the good seed has been well fed and watered by God's almighty hand this year, and we are to get bumper crops. Plums will be in abundance for some weeks to come; so here's a Plum sauce that is best bottled and used like ketchup. 

1kg (2 lb) plums
225g (½ lb) brown sugar
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns,
crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 dried chillies, crumbled
500 ml (1 pt) cider vinegar

Wash and place the plums in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring them to boil; simmer for 20-30 minutes until broken down and the stones come out. Set aside to cool. When you can, sift through and pick out and discard the stones.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan, boil up, and then allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes until you have a heavy, pulpy sauce. Cook for longer if required; it will thicken more as it cools. Ladle into sterilised bottles and jars, and bring out as a condiment for any number of meals, but particularly a cooked breakfast, duck breasts, or fried fish.

Forthcoming Events

18 November 2020
Books for Advent
Hear more about this year’s selection of Advent books. Free event, register on Facebook

28 November 2020
An Advent Retreat with Poetry and Music
Join us for an online Advent retreat in association with Canterbury Press.    Book tickets

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)