Scorched mackerel with smoked eel, beetroot, sweet mustard and sea herbs



Begin by preparing the beetroot for the garnish. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Wash the beetroots and place on a sheet of foil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, drizzle with a little oil, then wrap tightly and bake until tender (around 30-45 minutes). Once tender, leave to cool still wrapped in the foil for 30 minutes



While the beetroots bake, score the skin of the mackerel fillets at 1cm intervals. Combine the salt and caster sugar, then sprinkle half of it on a tray. Place the mackerel fillets on top of the curing mix, flesh-side up, then scatter over the remaining mixture. Leave to cure for 15 minutes, then rinse off the mixture, pat dry and place the mackerel in the fridge until ready to cook

  • 4

    mackerel fillets, weighing 125g each, pin-boned (Mark uses Cornish day boat mackerel)

  • 50g of

    fine salt
  • 50g of caster sugar


To make the sauce, place the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then add the mustard and a pinch of salt and whisk together. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify, then finish with a splash of cream. Place in the fridge (transferring to a squeezy bottle if desired) until ready to serve

  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp of

    Dijon mustard, heaped
  • 2 tsp single cream
  • sea salt
  • 50ml of rapeseed oil


For the crushed egg, boil the eggs in salted water for 5½ minutes, then plunge into iced water to halt the cooking process. Place the shallot, capers, parsley and cornichons in a bowl, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Grate in a little lemon zest and add a squeeze of juice, then peel the eggs and add to the bowl, lightly crushing them with a fork as you mix everything together. Check the seasoning and reserve in the fridge



Once the beetroots are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and cut each beetroot in half. Place them in a bowl and season with the vinegar, lemon oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside

  • 1 tsp Chardonnay vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon oil, ideally Sicilian lemon cold-pressed rapeseed oil


Set up a steamer pan and bring to the boil. While you’re waiting, season the sliced leek with sea salt and leave to stand for 1 minute. Once boiling, steam the leeks for 10 minutes until tender, then transfer to a bowl and cover, leaving them to cool naturally



Preheat a grill to its highest setting or use a blowtorch if you have one. Place the mackerel fillets skin-side up on a metal non-stick tray and sprinkle over the Demerara sugar. Place under the grill (or blowtorch) and cook until the skin scorches and blackens

  • 50g of Demerara sugar


To serve, divide the crushed egg mixture between 4 serving dishes, then drape the slices of smoked eel over the top along with the leeks and beetroots. Dress generously with the sauce, then top with a mackerel fillet and the sea herbs

  • 100g of

    smoked eel, thinly sliced (like smoked salmon – ask your fishmonger)
  • sea herbs, to garnish – Mark uses oyster leaves and monk’s beard

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