I was out last night in Oadby with my girlfriend, nothing over the top really, just a casual night out at the local with a few drinks and enjoying each others company. On the way there we must have walked a few minutes before I needed to stop because (me being the ever stereotypical male) I can not buy jeans that fit, and as a result I have a pair that are a little too long and ended up getting trapped under the heel of my shoe. So like the gentleman I halted my girlfriends eager stride with ‘hang on a minute’. I brought my left foot up towards my head with the intention of releasing the base of my jeans from the grasp of my shoe – a normal situation I think you will agree had it not been for the rather large protruding fennel sprout that I was holding on to to steady myself, which I had no idea that was what I was holding until my lady pointed it out. We left the pub later on and as we were walking back, for no apparent reason I decided to grasp a small bunch of fennel fronds straight off this bush and eat them like some mad fennel eating pub crawling lunatic. Well it tasted nice and it gave me the idea for this recipe, so I think whoever owns the fennel that I so carelessly violated should at least consider making this before calling the authorities.
Make sure the mackerel is super fresh, it needs to be stiff and as rigid as a banker defending his bonus.
- 2 fresh mackerel fillets
- 1 large orange
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 fennel bulb (save the fronds)
- Juice of half a lime
- 50g watercress
- 1 dessert spoon oil, either walnut or olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the salad you need to remove the rind from the orange and grapefruit. to do this slice a small ammount off the base to give you stability, place on a flat surface then with a sharp knife cut strips from the top to the base making sure you remove all the white pith, you should end up with a ball with all the fruit visible. Remove the segments by cutting between each side of the membrane and place the segments in a mixing bowl, squeeze out the juice from both the grapefruit and orange. Take the fennel bulb and cut off the tough base and remove the top (remembering to keep the fronds). Remove any tough outer leaves then slice really thinly before mixing with the orange and grapefruit segments, add the lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper then the oil, mix gently and leave in the fridge for about 15 minutes to marinate.
2. Season your mackerel fillets with salt and pepper then place in a pan on a medium heat with a little oil skin side down and fry for around 2 minutes until the skin is crisp, then flip and fry flesh side down for about 1-2 minutes.
3. To serve simply add the watercress to the orange and grapefruit mix and toss together, serve the salad on a plate making sure each plate gets some of everything, drizzle with some of the dressing and top with your mackerel fillet. Finish off with more of the oil of your choice then gobble it up. I suppose I should add at this point to avoid confusion that I did not in any way steal fennel from someone’s front garden for the purposes of this recipe…it was merely a taster and I paid hard cash for my bulb, Just so you know.