How to make James Martin’s blowtorched mackerel with fennel and grapefruit salad

Because who doesn’t want an excuse to use a blowtorch in the kitchen?

Simple but beautiful, this mackerel recipe was cooked by James Martin on the back of a fishing boat. Mackerel is a sustainable fish from UK shores, and it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids and a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals. Pair with a salad of fresh British ingredients, like grapefruit and fennel, and it’s win-win on the sustainable front.

(Serves 2)

  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • A few dill sprigs, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 4 mackerel fillets, skin on

For the dressing:

  • 100ml full fat creme fraiche
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Put the sugar, peppercorns, ginger, dill and one teaspoon of salt into a medium bowl then stir in the vinegar.

2. On a board, slice the top and bottom off the grapefruit then carefully cut away the skin and pith from the fruit. Cut between each segment and add the flesh to the bowl, reserving all the juices and pouring these into the bowl, too. Add the fennel and any fronds to the bowl. Season with a little black pepper and toss everything together (including the dill and grated ginger).

3. Rub the oil over the mackerel and season well. Pop the fillets, skin-side up, onto a baking sheet. Using a blowtorch, scorch the skin of the mackerel until charred and the fish is cooked through. Alternatively, preheat the grill to its highest setting and cook the fish for three to four minutes.

4. To make the dressing, mix the creme fraiche and ginger together in a bowl with a little seasoning.

5. To serve, spoon some dressing onto each plate, lay two mackerel fillets on top and half of the salad alongside each.

James Martin’s Great British Adventure: A Celebration Of Great British Food With 80 Fabulous Recipes by James Martin is published by Quadrille, priced £25. Available now.



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