Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Smoked mackerel potato salad

Not much beats a nice new potato gently cooked until tender dressed in a little vinaigrette, well that was until I decided to put a Christmas dinner idea to the test, well half an idea anyway. I plan on spit-roasting a rolled pork belly on the day, I’ve ordered a nice 4-5 kg piece, and I figured that there would be a decent amount of fat rendering out so I should just shove a tray of potatoes under it to catch the fall off and roast away at the same time, which got me thinking about cooking in fat and how chips cooked in dripping are far superior to any of those canola/soy/peanut fried things.

I set about with a bunch of new potatoes, a few tubs of dripping and a good stalk of rosemary. In a cast iron dish dripping got melted down with the fragrant rosemary and when finally liquid, the potatoes submerged. Then the dish was covered and placed in a low oven for a couple of hours until the potatoes were tender, the house was filled with beautiful roast beef aromas. I let the lot cool before transferring to the fridge to set up, well not before testing one of course.

The next day I spied probably one of my favourite ingredients at the local shops, smoked mackerel, and with the potatoes sitting in the fridge and it being a balmy 30ºC I figured a nice light salad was the best option. Potatoes gently encouraged out of their fatty tomb and split lengthwise, placed cut side down in a hot cast iron pan to become crisp and golden, flipped over and sprinkled with salt then set aside on some paper towels. Medium eggs placed in cold water, brought to the boil, then 3 minutes of bubbling before being dunked into ice water. Mackerel flaked. Celery sliced on a heavy bias. Tomatoes quartered and seeded. Capers rinsed. Parsley picked over. Red onion diced. A fifty-fifty vinaigrette made, 1 part olive oil, 1 part cider vinegar, dijon mustard and a dash of salt. The potatoes now just a little warm, arranged on a plate with generous amounts of the flaked fish scattered about, the vegetables evenly deposited, topped with an egg cut in twain, garnished with a generous scattering of parsley and capers, finally healthily dressed with the vinaigrette.

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