Thursday, 20 June 2013

Spanish Mackerel with Chickpeas & Pearled Spelt

There are times when I wander into the fishmonger with not the foggiest idea what I'm going to buy.  Although probably a little frustrating for everyone queued up behind me as I um and ah, it does mean I'm not constrained by a recipe or an idea.  I can pick whatever looks the best or comes recommended.  Last week it was the shiny, bright eyed Spanish mackerel which caught my eye at Moxons

A rare glimpse of sunshine meant I was craving salads and summery, holiday food.  Warm, sunny days are the perfect time for lazy family lunches and big platters of simple salads...

Pearled spelt (or farro) is one of those ingredients that I bought on impulse, after seeing a photo on Instagram of a gorgeous salad which Elly Curshen made for Pear Cafe.  These grains of spelt with the outer husk removed have a nutty flavour and work well in place of rice, bulgur or couscous in salads.  

Serves 2 adults and 1 hungry toddler for lunch.


1 large mackerel or 2 small mackerel, filleted
50g pearled spelt
200g cooked chickpeas (or 1 tin good quality chickpeas)
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
150g small ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 dessert spoon sherry vinegar
2 dessert spoons olive oil (plus extra to cook the mackerel)
salt & black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice (to serve)


Cook the spelt according to the packet instructions, then drain.

Make the dressing in a large bowl by mixing together the sherry vinegar and olive oil with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the cooked spelt, chickpeas, spring onions, tomatoes and parsley and mix well.  Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Heat a frying pan over a moderate heat.  Wash and dry the mackerel fillets, rub a little olive oil on each side of the fillets and season with a little salt.  Cook the mackerel fillets, skin side down, for 3-4 minutes, then turn and cook for a further minute or two until just cooked.

Spoon the salad onto a large serving plate and put the mackerel fillets on top, skin side up.  Squeeze over a little lemon juice and serve immediately.

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