Pilchards canned in tomatoes is cheap nutritious food with an image problem. The acidity of tomato goes extremely well with the rich, meaty flesh of pilchards, herring and mackerel and in this unusual recipe, carefully boned fillets of mackerel are rolled and cooked in a highly seasoned tomato coulis with peas. The mackerel are eaten from soup bowls with garlicky bruschetta on the side. An unexpected discovery on an old Franco Taruschio menu in his days at the land-locked Walnut Tree at Abergavenny.
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 45 min
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml white wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 sprig thyme
generous pinch of red chilli flakes or 1 red chilli (seeded but left whole)
4 fresh mackerel, approx 450g each, filleted and pin boned
450g frozen petit pois
you will also need 8 cocktail sticks
for the bruschetta:
4 slices sourdough type bread
1 garlic clove
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. In a pan that can accommodate all the ingredients, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender and golden. Add the wine and reduce by two-thirds. Add the tomatoes and parsley, thyme and chilli. Season with salt and pepper. Roll up the mackerel fillets and skewer with a cocktail stick. Put the mackerel rolls in the tomato sauce, add the peas and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until the peas are tender and the mackerel cooked through. Carefully remove the cocktail sticks and serve in shallow soup bowls with bruschetta.
To make the bruschetta, toast the bread, peel the garlic and rub vigorously on one side of the toast. Splash with olive oil and season with salt. Cut in half and serve.