Mackerel is brought ashore pretty much year-round by the market’s exclusive day boat, Lady Hamilton of Helford. Sustainably caught (often by line) and quickly put on ice, the mackerel sold at market by Chris Bean and his team is ultra-fresh and packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Just ask and they will happily fillet them for you.
1 lemongrass stalk (cut in half and pressed with the back of a knife to release flavour)
6 Kaffir lime leaves
Can of coconut milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
4 mackerel fillets (ask at the fishmonger or market stall for them to be ‘V cut’ and scored)
For the spice paste:
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 banana shallot, roughly chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced
2 tsp palm sugar or caster sugar
1 tsp ground coriander
Juice of half a lime
A few cracks of black pepper
To serve (optional):
1 small red chilli for garnish
Crispy fried shallots
Fresh coriander leaves
Put all spice paste ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Put in the bruised lemongrass stalk and kaffir lime leaves and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add the spice paste and give it a good stir, frying until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
Add the potato chunks, coating in the paste and frying for a further minute.
Next, pour in the water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and add the coconut milk. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook the mackerel fillets. Place them on a baking tray and if you have one, blowtorch them until cooked through, if not place them under a hot grill. You’re aiming for a good, slightly blackened colour on the skin and for the fish to be just cooked through (turn the fillets over to check). You can finish in the oven if the skin is cooking to fast.
To serve, in 2-4 bowls ladle the sauce over fluffy white rice and lay your seared mackerel fillets on top. Garnish with fried shallots, slices of fresh chilli and coriander leaves.