Grilled Mackerel with Tomato Couscous and Tartar Sauce

Ready in: Under 20 minutes

Multi-tasking level: Very Low

Feeds:  4, and goes well in lunch-boxes. Scale down as necessary

2 butterfly fillets of mackerel
These ones came in a packet, but keep checking fish that are reduced
at the counter
. It can be intimidating, but those people are there to help
you- always ask to have your fish descaled and gutted by the person serving
you, or descaled and filleted if you don’t want to use the whole thing. It’s
free, and they’re very happy to do it. Also, you can ask for the bones back
to boil up for stock if you so please. Don’t be intimidated just because you have
to talk to someone
I use light mayo because I’m a girl and therefore like to trick myself
into thinking mayo isn’t just oil and more oil
60p a bag- we’re using about 30p’s worth here
Wholegrain couscous is tasty. Remember couscous works really well
cold/reheated- cook more than you need
1 can value chopped tomatoes
Sainsbury’s basics ones are actually the best. Nice red colour, come
in a carton not a jar. Edit: They now sell versions with herbs in them. Cool
story, Sainsbury’s.
Don’t bother with fancy wine here, it’s really just to give it some
Capers are delicious. Keep them in your fridge. The jar is pricey, but
will last for months, even a year
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves
Bag costs about 75p, we’re using about 30ps worth
Delicious go-to salad because it doesn’t have a disappointingly airy
texture like other salad bits
Chopped basil and lemon thyme
Growing herbs (of the culinary kind) in your student digs will make it
look prettier and disguise generic student smells. Also you can
eat them
                                           Or about £1.48 each
Impressive bang-for-your-buck
Small saucepan for couscous
Grill pan (or roasting dish with a cooling rack
Chopping board and knife
Small bowl and spoon for tartar sauce
Possibly a pastry brush, if you have one (NB: Buy a
silicone pastry brush
. You can get them from supermarkets. Ones with actual
hairs will leave actual hairs on your food and your friends will question your
personal hygiene
        1 .  Couscous
Put a third as much couscous as you want to
in a saucepan
Add 1 ½ times as much liquid as there is
couscous in with it. In this recipe, put a tin of chopped tomatoes on it, a
splash of red wine, a squeeze of lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of sugar (otherwise it will
just dissolve your face when you try to eat it) – and some chopped basil if you’re
feeling fancy
Put on the hob on a high heat and stir
frequently with a wooden spoon. Just make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom.
Sort the mackerel out now
Cooking the couscous will require some
attention. It ought to look a bit frogspawny after about 5 minutes- if it
starts sticking to the bottom at that time, put a splash more water in it
After 10-14 minutes it should be done
        2.  Mackerel
Turn the grill on high
Delicious baste
Take out your mackerel fillets and admire
their value for money
Make a baste
Put the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of
olive oil, chopped lemon thyme and basil (optional) and half a teaspoon of salt
in a bowl
Mix together to emulsify (stop the water and
oil separating and make it thicker)
Paint the baste onto the fish skin with either
a pastry brush (if you’re cool) or your fingers (if you don’t bake enough pies
and therefore have no pastry brush)
Crispy deliciousness

Put the mackerel under the grill, skin side up,
for 5 minutes. Start making the sauce

Take out- Drain any lemon juice from on top
and add lots of salt– this is going to make the skin all crispy. Cook for 4
minutes more
When the skin looks delicious, flip and cook
for about 1-2 minutes flesh side up

Tartar bits

       3.  Tartar sauce (we’re not making the mayo. Shop-bought
mayo is just fine.)

Put 3 tablespoons of mayo in a bowl
Chop up 1 tablespoon of capers as finely as
you can and put them in
Add a squeeze of lemon. If you want it to
taste homely and familiar, add a teaspoon of sugar
Mix together
       4.  Plate up
Flop the couscous into a sieve if there’s any
water lurking about still, then back in the pan, then a bit on your plate
Put spinach leaves on top because layers are
so “now”
Put half a fish on top of that- admire that crispy skin
Slop a little tartar sauce on the
Chow down
Look how fancy this looks. Hella fancy, that’s how fancy

Also: Is anyone else’s mind blown by the techno-awesome pattern on mackerel? Click on the picture of the fillets to get a good look- I cannot believe that actually happens naturally…


How tartar sauce should look,
for the uninitiated 

                                             Seriously impressed with
                                                          The size of these babies…

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