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Pan-fried mackerel with pickled red gooseberries and sea lettuce jelly parcels, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

13 July 2012
Pan-fried mackerel with pickled red gooseberries and sea lettuce jelly parcels, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

Ingredients
Serves eight (as a starter)

For the pickled red gooseberries
200g caster sugar
200ml red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 banana shallot, finely diced
50g peeled fresh root ginger, finely grated
5 coriander seeds, lightly crushed
4 cloves, lightly crushed
400g red gooseberries, topped and tailed
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

For the red gooseberry and sea lettuce jelly parcels
200g red gooseberries, topped and tailed
55g red sea lettuce (dulse), washed
300ml cold water
100g caster sugar
15g Sosa elastic
200g (prepared weight) smoked mackerel, skin and bones removed, flesh flaked
1 spring onion, finely sliced
80g cucumber, very finely diced
1tbs finely chopped fresh chervil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime
2tsp mascarpone

For the pan-fried mackerel
8 fresh mackerel fillets (125-150g each), skin on, pin bones removed and scaled
2tbs rapeseed oil
200g red sea lettuce (dulse), washed and roughly chopped, to serve
80g fresh nasturtium leaves, to garnish

Method
First, prepare the pickled red gooseberries. Put the sugar, vinegar, garlic, shallot, ginger, coriander seeds and cloves in a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil, then simmer until the mixture becomes syrupy and the shallot is soft. Add the gooseberries and seasoning, stir and leave over the heat for one minute (the mixture does not need to come back to the boil) and then remove from the heat. Transfer the pickled gooseberries to a container and leave to cool for one hour, then cover and keep refrigerated until needed. The pickled gooseberries can be made up to three days in advance.

Next, prepare the red gooseberry and sea lettuce jelly parcels. Put the gooseberries, sea lettuce, water and sugar in a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a gentle simmer and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the gooseberries have completely collapsed and the liquid is pink in colour. Remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, then measure 250ml of the liquid into a small saucepan (discard any remaining liquid). Whisk in the elastic, then bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously, and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a sturdy, large white plastic tray so that it is 2mm thick. Leave to set and cool completely at room temperature.

While the mixture is cooling, make the filling for the jelly parcels. Put the smoked mackerel into a bowl, add the spring onion, cucumber, chervil, lime zest and juice and mascarpone and mix well. Cover and chill until needed.

Cut the jelly into long strips, each about 7 x 2cm. Spoon a teaspoonful of the smoked mackerel filling mixture on to one end of a jelly strip, then roll up the jelly, enclosing the filling to form a jelly parcel with open ends. Repeat with the remaining jelly strips and mackerel filling (you need to make three jelly parcels per portion). Transfer the jelly parcels to a tray and keep refrigerated until needed.

For the pan-fried mackerel, cut each fresh mackerel fillet in half (to serve two pieces per portion) and score the skin with a sharp knife, then season. You'll need to cook the fish in two batches. Heat one tablespoon of the rapeseed oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and pan-fry half of the fish pieces, skin-side down first, over a medium heat for about three minutes or until golden brown, then flip the fish over and cook for a further one minute on the second side. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you cook the second batch of fish as before, using the remaining oil.

To serve, divide the red sea lettuce between eight serving plates, then position three jelly parcels on each plate. Spoon the pickled red gooseberries on to the plates, then place two pieces of pan-fried mackerel on each plate. Garnish with the nasturtium leaves and serve immediately.

Pan-fried mackerel
Pan-fried mackerel

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