Over the past few weeks, probably because the weather has been a bit kinder and we have had some sunny days (although not nearly enough in my book), I have found myself buying less meat and more fish. Once the BBQ has been pulled out of it’s winter hidey hole and cleaned off, we cook outside as often as we can, making good use of the longer evenings, even if it means donning an extra cardigan.
Spending evenings outside also means I get to enjoy the sights and scents of the garden which takes up a lot of my time to tend and it is lovely to be able to sit and enjoy the fruits of my labour with something no heavier than a glass of wine in hand.
For overseas readers who are blessed with warm rays of sunshine all summer it must be such a joy to be able to plan events months in advance without the risk of growing extra grey hairs worrying if your outdoor party is going to need marquees, tarpaulins or extra supplies of umbrellas dotted around the garden.
A few balmy days in a row seems to qualify as a ‘good summer’ in England now, long gone are the halcyon days of end to end sunshine I remember as a schoolgirl, although some say that we all look back with rose-tinted glasses and the seasons are the same now as they were forty years ago.
We have had one whole day of sun this week, a couple of warm mornings which rapidly changed into chilly, windy afternoons and yesterday I got rained on. I am sitting writing this with a mug of hot coffee, not so much to quench my thirst but as a hand warmer, and a chunky winter jumper on my back. I am even contemplating putting the heating on as my cat also seems to be a bit miffed at the coolness of the air.
Mackerel, in my humble opinion, is such an underrated and under-eaten fish. It is perfect for the BBQ, it needs little preparation and behaves itself very well on the grill without falling apart. Its natural oiliness means it stays deliciously moist and I cooked these ones with no added oil at all.
In season now, this beautiful fish with silky silver and black patterned skin, is much cheaper than the ubiquitous sea bass or bream and is definitely worth eating more than just once over the summer.
The addition of a little fresh rosemary from the garden imparts a wonderful subtle flavour and served simply with some grilled vegetables, the fish will be superb.
- One mackerel per head, gutted and cleaned.
- Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped.
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped.
- Grated rind of one large lemon.
- Clean and dry the mackerel on some paper towel.
- Make three cuts in the sides of each fish.
- Stuff the fish roughly with equal amounts of the herbs and lemon.
- Put on a medium hot BBQ, cook for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through and nicely browned.
As always when buying fish, look for bright sparkly eyes, clean clear skin with firm flesh.