Spanish Mackerel with Sicilian Flavours

Spanish mackerel is a cheap and sustainably wild-caught fish that is overlooked in preference for the ubiquitous farmed salmon; this is unfortunate as you can create a wonderful fish dinner for half the price and with a bit of a flavour hit. Spanish mackerel is an oily fish that is best when cooked with robust and citrusy flavours and this version based on a Sicilian dish works a treat. Traditionally fresh tomatoes are added but I have substituted orange juice and white wine for some acidity instead. I think the orange, along with the fresh bay leaves, adds some beautiful perfumed aromatics which I am sure you will enjoy. Serve with roasted potato slices and a green salad.

  • 2 Spanish mackerel cutlets
  • 1 tbs pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 8 parsley stalks without the leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs salted capers, rinsed
  • 1 tbs green olives, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbs currents
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • a few thin strips of orange rind for garnish

Salt the mackerel cutlets. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Brown the Spanish mackerel cutlets for one minute on each side. Remove for the pan and set aside. Add the pine nuts to the pan and colour to a light golden brown, remove them to a saucer and set aside. Gently sauté the sliced onion and parsley stalks until the onion is soft and golden. Add the garlic, capers, currents, olives and bay leaves and sauté for a few minutes. Add the wine and orange juice and stir to reduce the sauce slightly. Return the fish and cook on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes a side, until just cooked. Remove the fish to a serving plate and reduce the sauce further, if necessary, to a syrupy consistency and spoon over the fish. Garnish with a few orange strips.