by Jo Pratt from The Flexible Pescatarian (White Lion Publishing)
This is a brilliant summery dish for sharing, whether as part of a bigger meal or served on its own. To me, it resembles a plate of deconstructed sushi, as all the flavours (and more) are represented. The rice salad is a mouthwatering combination of sweet, sour, aromatic, crunchy and soft. When eaten with the rich, spicy and salty mackerel, your senses are in for a real treat.
Time taken 45 minutes, plus a few hours/overnight for pickling
4–8 mackerel fillets (depending on size), pin-boned
oil, for drizzling
For the marinade
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp sake or dry sherry
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
For the salad
100ml/3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup rice wine vinegar
50g/1¾ oz caster sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 star anise
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
125g/4½ oz radishes, finely sliced
½ cucumber peeled, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 banana (large) shallot or 2 small ones, peeled and thinly sliced
300g/10½ oz Thai jasmine rice
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
flaked sea salt
To make the salad, heat the vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, star anise, coriander seeds and red chilli in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Put the carrot, radish, cucumber and shallot in a bowl and pour over the cooled vinegar mixture.
Leave in the fridge to pickle for a few hours or overnight.
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and pour over the fish.
Set aside for about 30 minutes.
Put the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water for about 30 seconds. Transfer the rice to a saucepan and add 750ml/1½ pints/3 cups of water.
Add a pinch of salt and put over a high heat.
When the water reaches a rolling boil, cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.
Turn off the heat but keep on the lid and allow the rice to continue cooking in the steam in the pan for a further 5 minutes or so.
Heat the grill to high.
Put the marinated mackerel on a baking tray lined with foil drizzled with a little oil, skin-side up, and grill for 5 minutes.
Baste a couple of times with the excess marinade until the fish is golden on top.
Run a fork through the rice and tip into the bowl with the pickled vegetables, removing the star anise.
Mix together and transfer to a mixing bowl or platter to share.
Scatter with sesame seeds and serve with the teriyaki mackerel.
The salad is not only lovely with the mackerel, but you could also slice a couple of aubergines lengthways (about 2cm/½ inch thick). Brush with the marinade, then lightly brush both sides with some sunflower oil. Put under a hot grill for a few minutes on each side until softened and golden.