First smoke your mackerel. Only kidding! But smoking is easier than you think, especially hot smoking. Just buy a little kit or come to one of the Secret Garden Club’s smoking courses. (By the way, this Sunday we are running a Cherokee themed gardening workshop and dinner, ‘cooking the three sisters’, still some tickets left).
This recipe works equally well with smoked mackerel bought from your local fishmonger or supermarket. It’s a good starter for this weather and full of flavour, especially with the fresh horseradish vinaigrette. I keep a horseradish root in the freezer and just grate some with a microplane whenever I need it.
I love to use edible flowers including cornflowers. It adds just the right touch of originality and prettiness. Right now I’m using the perennial cornflower which grows wild in my garden, although from June you can use the annual cornflower. I’m cooking an edible flower banquet at the gorgeous Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale on Midsummer night’s eve. Book here:
200g mixed lettuce leaves, washed and dried carefully
1 pack or 2 fillets of smoked mackerel, skinless, sliced thickly
More black pepper
Make your dressing:
Put the Dijon mustard into the olive oil and whisk.
Add the lemon juice, continue to whisk until it is emulsified.
Grate fresh horseradish straight into the dressing, as much or as little as you like.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Divide the mixed leaves between the plates.
Pluck the petals from the cornflowers and distribute artfully around the leaves.
Then place three or four thick slices of the smoked mackerel fillets on top of the salad, overlapping slightly.
Dot the horseradishy dressing over the salad.
Grind on more black pepper and rub a pinchful of Malden salt between your fingers on top of the salad for a little bit of texture.
Serve with cold white wine and sourdough bread.