Grilled mackerel on fruit & vegetables with pomegranate wasabi dressing

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Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

In many ways the salad under the mackerel is a free-for-all. In London we’re lucky to have a great selection of Thai fruit and vegetables made available to us through various shops, but also through the lovely Australian authority on Thai food - David Thompson. David’s restaurant nahm was the first Thai restaurant to get a Michelin star and he and his team serve authentic and delicious food based on Thai ingredients that he sources fresh each week direct from Bangkok’s various markets. In the photo you can see the lotus shoot in the top left corner, the sapodilla looks like a wedge of brown papaya next to it (but tastes of Medjool dates and caramel) and the palm heart can be seen tucked in several places. There’s also lightly pickled yellow beetroot, pomegranate seeds, julienned jicama and sliced, peeled prickly pears. The kaffir lime comes from my own tree here in London. The point of this explanation is really just to say that you want a mixture of many textures and flavours, from the sweet through to the crunchy and sour. Head to a friendly Asian greengrocer and ask for their help. Failing that, use a mixture of green papaya and mango, ripe papaya and mango, wedges of Medjool dates, pineapple slices, bean sprouts, apples and pears and whatever else takes your fancy. Mackerel works so well with all of these flavours as it is an oily fish and this goes well with sweet and sour; other good fish would be tuna, sardines and grey mullet.


  • 1 large golden beetroot
  • 1 large juicy lemon, sliced into 8
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) avocado oil
  • 1-2 pomegranates
  • 50 ml mirin
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) lime juice, plus 2 whole limes
  • 1-2 tsp wasabi paste
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) toasted sesame oil
  • 600-800 g assorted fresh fruit and vegetables as described on the left
  • 4 mackerel, gutted, head can be left on if preferred
  • a handful of coriander


Peel the beetroot then slice quite thin on a mandolin. Place 500 ml water in a medium-sized pot with 1 teaspoon salt, the lemon and 1 Tablespoon of the avocado oil. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the slices of beetroot one at a time. Bring back to a rapid simmer and cook until they’re ready - test one after 5 minutes, it should be tender but with a little bite. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Make the dressing. Run a small knife around the outside of the pomegranates and pull them apart, avoiding cutting through the bitter white membrane. Pick out 2 Tablespoons of seeds then juice the remainder as you would an orange - you want at least 150 ml juice. Place this in a small pot with the mirin and teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil then reduce until you have a quarter. Leave to cool then mix in the lime juice and the wasabi, then the sesame oil and half the remaining avocado oil.

Prepare the fruit and vegetables. It’s up to you how you slice them, but the only thing that’s ultimately important is to peel the skin from those that need it, remove inedible seeds from others and cut things quite thin. Lay slices of the beetroot on the base of your plates then toss the fresh fruit and vegetables together with the pomegranate seeds and place this on top.

Brush the mackerel with the remaining avocado oil and season the stomach cavity and the skin with salt. Cook it over a moderate-high heat either on a skillet or heavy-based pan, or on a char-grill or barbecue. The fish is cooked when you can just pull the flesh away from the bone at the thickest part, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

To Serve

Sit the fish on top of the salad, scatter with the coriander and then spoon the dressing on top or serve in a dish on the side.