Soused Mackerel, Burnt Apple and Dill


You will need to begin this recipe two days ahead.


  • 175 ml ( fl oz/ cup) cider vinegar
  • 2 large mackerel, cleaned, pin bones removed, skin on
  • 100 g ( oz) thick (double) cream
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, diced

Burnt Apple Vinegar

  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) vegetable oil

Dill Oil

  • 100 g ( oz/4 bunches) dill
  • 600 ml (21 fl oz) vegetable oil

Apple Pickle

  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored
  • 1 bunch borage cress, plus extra for garnish
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) cider vinegar
  • 50 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 50 g ( oz) salt


Combine 100 ml ( fl oz) of water with the cider vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and put in the refrigerator to cool. Once completely cool, steep the mackerel in the liquid for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside for plating.

To make the burnt apple vinegar, burn the apples until blackened on an open flame on a gas stovetop. Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 2 minutes. Char until black as charcoal. Allow the apples to cool before placing in a blender with the eggs, cider vinegar, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and blend well. With the motor running, gradually add the vegetable oil until emulsified. Strain and set the burnt apple vinegar aside.

Prepare the dill oil by putting the dill (including the stalks) in a saucepan of warm, lightly salted water. Blanch for 8 minutes then refresh in iced water. Squeeze the dill dry and put it into a blender. Heat the vegetable oil to 80°C (175°F) and pour it into the blender to just cover the dill. Blend until the dill has made the oil green. Alternatively, put the dill and oil in a Thermomix and blend for 7 minutes until the oil reaches 70°C (150°F). Strain and reserve the oil.

To make the apple pickle, place the apples, 100 ml ( fl oz) of water, borage cress, rapeseed oil, cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain and set aside.

Make a dressing by combining the double cream with 100 ml ( fl oz) of the burnt apple vinegar and 200 ml (7 fl oz) of the dill oil in a bowl. Stir to combine.

Char the skin of the mackerel using a blowtorch flame until black and crispy. Alternatively, heat a medium frying pan over high heat. When dry and hot place the fish, skin side down and cook to achieve a dark caramelised colour. Carefully remove the mackerel from the pan. To serve, carefully blowtorch the diced apple flesh until lightly charred.

Spoon some burnt apple vinegar onto the base of each serving plate. Place the mackerel on the plates. Scatter with the diced apple and garnish with the apple pickle. Just before serving, spoon the dressing onto the plate, being careful not to cover the fish.