IN THE JEREZ FISH MARKET I WAS ENTRANCED BY A BOX OF GREEN AND SAPPHIRE MACKEREL. IN THE EARLY MORNING SUN THEIR SHINY SKINS WERE SHIMMERING WITH THE COLOURS OF THE SEA. AS I MOVED AROUND THEM THEIR PATTERNS CHANGED AND I COULD IMAGINE THEM SWIMMING IN A SCHOOL. MACKEREL HAVE A WONDERFULLY MOIST, DENSE FLESH, WHICH IS FULL FLAVOURED AND QUITE MEATY. HERE WE’RE SERVING IT WITH PIPIRRANA, A CLASSIC LOCAL SALAD, WHERE THE SHARPNESS OF THE DRESSING BALANCES THE STURDINESS OF THE FISH.
Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of each mackerel fillet with four slashes. Combine the parsley, paprika, half the chopped garlic and half the olive oil in a large bowl. Add the fish fillets, massage the marinade into the fish, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Place the capsicums in a small roasting tin, sprinkle with sea salt and
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel.
Peel the cucumbers lengthways, leaving a hint of skin. Cut off the ends, then cut the cucumbers in half lengthways. Using a teaspoon, remove and discard the seeds. Cut the flesh into small pieces.
To assemble the salad, place the tomato wedges, cucumber, onion, olives and the remaining garlic in a bowl. Add the capsicum and the reserved cooking juices. Pour the vinegar and remaining olive oil over, season to taste and combine well. Divide the salad between serving plates, then cut the eggs in half and arrange on the plates.
Heat a large frying pan or barbecue flat plate over high heat. Cook the fish fillets, skin side down, for 3 minutes, seasoning with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice as they cook. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes and season again. Arrange the fish fillets over the salads and serve immediately.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.