Posts Tagged ‘Mackerel’

Sadly, the samphire I recently fell in love with is no longer easily available in my area, limiting my choices for delicious seafood dinners.  However, smoked mackerel fillets are still available for ridiculously low prices and I’m determined to get as much oily fish nutrients in my system as I can while the opportunity arises.  Necessity is the mother of invention, and today I came upon another delicious pasta recipe using smoked mackerel.  You could also substitute baby new potatoes for the pasta, and it’d be just as good.

No pictures of my finished dish, as I need new batteries for the camera again (it’s a hungry camera!), but I’d love to see your own finished versions of the dish if you make it!

Smoked Mackerel and Bacon Warm Pasta Salad

Serves 2

A warm pasta salad with a simple sauce and runny egg topping, served over crisp watercress.


1large or 2 medium fillets smoked mackerel

6 rashers streaky bacon

1 onion

1/2 cucumber

2 cups dry pasta

2 large eggs

1 knob butter

1 tbsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste (note that the bacon adds quite a lot of salt – do not season until you’ve tasted the dish)

a couple large handfuls watercress


Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta.  Roughly chop the onion and bacon, and add to a hot pan.  Do not add any oil, as the runoff from the bacon will be enough to prevent ingredients from sticking.  Once the bacon is basically cooked and starting to crisp up, peel the skin off the mackerel fillets, roughly pull the meat apart and add to the pan with the bacon, stirring well.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.  Chop the cucumber portion into small cubes and stir into the mixture.  Remove the pasta from the hob once al-dente or cooked to your preference and drain.

Bring a second, small pot of water to the boil.  In a separate, small pan, quickly melt the butter and whisk the dijon into it.  Toss the pasta, bacon/mackerel mix and dijon butter together until well blended.  By now, the second pot of water should be boiling.  Crack the eggs into it carefully, and let them poach just a minute or two while you plate up the food.

Scatter a generous handful of watercress onto each plate and top with a portion of the warm pasta salad.  Place a poached egg on top of each serving, and crack the egg open, to allow the warm, runny yolk to ooze over the pasta.  Serve.

Fresh Samphire

Fresh Samphire (Photo credit: Denna Jones)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Winter comfort food.  Rich beef cobblers with pickled walnuts, spicy haggis and mashed potatoes, thick, vegetable-rich bacon soup with dumplings, creamy chicken pies, and brussel sprouts and chestnuts as far as the eye can see.  But this Winter has been a long one, and it gets to a point where you want something that tastes fresh.  Something simple, that takes no time at all to cook, something crisp.

And if you’re poor like me, if the food shopping is dictated by what’s cheap and what’s on sale, maybe you’re also craving something that tastes of the sea.

My usual supermarket recently did something glorious – it started selling stripey-label smoked mackerel.  Affordable smoked mackerel.  Now, I’m a big believer in buying local and buying from small shops, but right now I am reliant on supermarkets for a lot of things.  I have a great greengrocer, but the butchers closed down and despite this being a coastal town, the fishmonger himself sells more imported, packaged fish than fresh caught local produce.  The wonderful co-ops for food springing up around the country like Catchbox haven’t yet reached my corner of the UK.  So this was BIG, for me.

What better to go with it than a punnet of delicate samphire sprigs?

Mackerel and Samphire Pasta

Mackerel cold-smoked for eight hours and then ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes simple is best, and this recipe is definitely simple. 



2 fillets of smoked mackerel, flaked, skin off

1 punnet fresh samphire

4 servings pasta

1 knob butter

4 handfuls watercress, washed and picked over

4 radishes

2″ long piece of cucumber



Bring a pan of water to the boil – do not add salt.  Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al-dente or to your preferred consistency.  Just before the pasta reaches that point, add the samphire to the pan and cover.  Drain, return to the pan and leave to one side.  Toss the mackerel in with the pasta and samphire.  In a small milk pan, heat the butter until melted.  Finely slice the radishes and cucumber.  Arrange a bed of watercress on the plate, sprinkle around with the radish and cucumber.  Spoon out a serving of mackerel and samphire pasta onto the watercress and drizzle over with melted butter.  Add a little pepper.