Sorry for the vague title, but sometimes we have to cut corners in life. Such is the way, sigh. Anyway, here goes, fish! was the last review I did, and today I cooked fish! (You can sense my excitement, can’t you). In fact, today was recipe book creation time, and this is what I came up with.
Get a whole mackerel (as fresh as poss.) from the fishmonger and ask him to fillet it (seriously, it’s not worth doing it at home.) With one half, the night before eating it, cover in a cure mixture (3 of teaspoons of salt, 2 of caster sugar, 1 of black pepper (I know most use white, but frankly I’m a bit of a maverick)). Once everywhere is covered, weigh it down and cling film all over. Leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, pour off the juices and return to the fridge till the evening. You can leave it overnight again if you want to be super safe, but I have never had a problem.
For the pickled cucumber, get a whole cucumber (so you have spares) and peel it. Then cut in half and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Julienne the cucumber into matchstick-esk pieces. In a pan, heat up 100ml white wine vinegar and 50 grams sugar until it reduces by half and all the sugar has dissolved. Then pour it over the cucumber and leave for 5 minutes. Then drain and keep until ready to serve. (You can do this up to a day in advance).
A couple minutes before serving, get EVERYTHING READY. This is a real restaurant dish in that everything is cooked just before serving, so get your plates hot, get water in the steamer, etc.Tidy up your cured mackerel (pour away any more juice and slice). Cut four thin slices of ciabatta. Prepare your hand dived (be kind to the Environment, ok?) scallops by removing the white lump on the side and, if you want, the orange roe type thing on the other side. Heat up a pan with olive oil and butter on a medium – high heat. Ready? Lets go!
1. Get some fine beans into a steamer and steam for 5-6 minutes, until tender.
2. Get the second half of the mackerel and the scallops into the pan and cook, turning occasionally until the scallops are golden brown on the outside and the mackerel is firm. Half way through, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon for acidity.
3. Remove cooked seafood and place on a plate. Season well.
4. Pour in a glass of white wine into the hot pan and reduce. Chuck in some parsley. When reduced, pour in double cream to the colour you want! Keep warm until serving.
5. Arrange it all nicely on the plate. You can serve the cured mackerel separately. The bread is the perfect carb for the dish: it soaks up the lovely sauce and isn’t too heavy.