Mackerel makes me happy. Firstly, because it tastes delicious and its meaty texture and strong flavour means it can be partnered with all sorts of exciting other flavours without being overpowered. Secondly, because it is ridiculously cheap. Thirdly, because it just looks beautiful - all silver and fresh as if it had just come out of the sea. I got the top three (the ones with heads) from the fishmongers on Saturday, and they offered me an absolutely ENORMOUS one - it was about the size of a salmon. I have never seen mackerel so big. I declined, but ended up with a giant specimen anyway (the top one) which I ate tonight and now feel a bit queasy. It was lovely though - I stuck them under a really hot grill so the skin went nice and crispy. Oh, and a fourth reason why I love it - it's very good brain food, apparently. Probably a good thing I consumed nearly the weight of my own head in mackerel then.
I had a load of celery left over from some soup I made that required only one stalk - I'm sure we must waste so much celery collectively as a nation, because where does a recipe ever require more than a couple of stalks? - and there is a recipe in the Ottolenghi cookbook (the first one, not the new one) for mackerel with a celery, caper, raisin and green olive salsa. Even so, this only used three stalks, so I still have a ridiculous amount of celery left over. Never mind. It's the easiest recipe ever - mix some sliced celery, sliced olives, capers, raisins (I used sultanas as I like them more), sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar as I don't see the point in buying loads of different kinds when essentially they all taste the same), parsley, honey and olive oil together. Grill the mackerel...serve it together. That is basically it. I didn't expect the salsa to taste so good - it's one of those things you can't imagine from looking at the ingredients list, but it was yummy and really good with the fish. I also made some potato wedges by tossing them in olive oil, salt, pepper and za'atar - an idea I had on a whim but which was really good so I intend to make all potato wedges with za'atar in future. Yum.
For dessert we had a sort of soufflé-type-thing. Lemon juice, lemon zest, yoghurt, pistachios, orange flower water, eggs, sugar. I love orange flower water and I haven't used it in anything in ages, and had forgotten quite how amazing it smells. I remember going to the ruins of a palace in Marrakesh, and the central courtyard was full of orange trees which were in blossom. Walking around was like being in some sort of perfume shop. The dessert was very tasty and lovely with some vanilla ice cream...I just wish I'd made more.