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MATTHEW MASON: WOOD-FIRED MACKEREL WITH GOOSEBERRY, APPLE & VANILLA PURÉE + PICKLED GOOSEBERRIES

I owe the inspiration for this dish to my father who took me on my very first mackerel fishing trip so many moons ago.

A true celebration of summer the wonderful flavours of the sea and flames from a proper wood-fired oven… what a combination!

Best of British and plentiful supply!

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INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MACKEREL

Mackerel should be at least 550g each cleaned and gutted and of course local – great value when in season and so tasty when absolutely fresh.

All they will need is a little olive oil a good twist of pepper and a healthy sprinkling of Cornish sea salt.

FOR THE GOOSEBERRY PICKLE SOLUTION

1 litre white wine vinegar
250 ml water
500g caster sugar
4 star anise
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
6 bay leaves

FOR THE GOOSEBERRY, APPLE & VANILLA PURÉE

5 Bramley apples. Peel and core the apples, then roughly chop.
1 punnet of fresh gooseberries
25g of butter
75g of caster sugar
1 splash of local apple juice.
1/4 of a split vanilla pod

METHOD

FOR THE GOOSEBERRY PICKLE SOLUTION

Put all the ingredients in a large pan bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, leave to cool completely.

Pass the mix through a fine sieve and store in a sealed container. It will keep for ages and is great for baby onions, carrots, cucumbers or even mushrooms.

FOR THE PICKLED GOOSEBERRIES

Simply cover the required amount of fresh gooseberries in the pickle solution and store until required. These taste good with really strong cheddar too.

FOR THE GOOSEBERRY, APPLE & VANILLA PURÉE

Melt butter in a pan over a low-medium heat. Add the apples, vanilla seeds, gooseberries, sugar, apple juice and cook gently until soft.

Puree in a liquidiser until smooth, pass through a fine sieve and store until needed.

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FOR THE MACKEREL

When you are ready to cook the mackerel, gently score the fish so as the seasoning and heat can penetrate evenly. Brush with a little oil and season well with salt and pepper including the inside of the belly.

Cook in the hot wood fired oven for 3-4 minutes when the skin is crisp and the flesh is cooked. Give it a good squeeze of lemon and away we go…

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TO SERVE

The fish should take pride of place in the middle. A spoonful of gooseberry, apple and vanilla puree should be visible on both sides. Scatter some pickled gooseberries around, then for a really classy finish, add some of Jan Billington’s edible flowers including elderflowers, dill sprigs, coriander and chickweed.

Recipe by Matthew Mason from The Jack in the Green

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