I see from my notes that I have been making this Smoked Mackerel Gratin for nearly 10 years now. I first made it because I wanted to introduce more of those Omega-3 fatty acids into our diet and it was such a hit with J who would have been 6 years old at that time, that I have been making it regularly ever since. Smoked fish and cream is a food marriage made in heaven. With the addition of potatoes, mustard and herbs this dish becomes a quick, intensely savoury, mid-week meal which only needs a sharply dressed green salad, cutting through the richness, to round it off.
It is an inexpensive dish to boot and very easy to make;
You could add a scattering of halved cherry tomatoes before covering it with cheese and you could also add a layer of fresh spinach leaves (which you have run under a tap to make wet) under the fish in which case you should increase the milk by about a 1/4 cup.
The smoked mackerel is quite salty as is the cheese so you shouldn’t need any additional salt.
Smoked Mackerel Gratin – serves 4
Inspired by Nigel Slater
- 4 smoked mackerel fillets
- 8 small potatoes halved
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
- 1 heaped tsp grain mustard
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 50g grated cheddar cheese
- A little butter or oil to grease the oven proof dish.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and lightly grease the oven proof dish.
- Place potatoes and garlic in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. The potatoes should give way to a knife but not be falling apart. Drain and remove the garlic.
- Peel off the skin and flake the mackerel into the dish, carefully pulling out any bones which have been left behind. Leave the fish in quite large chunks if you can.
- Whisk the creme fraiche then stir in the mustard and whisk again. Mash in the soft garlic and slowly whisk in the milk and stir in the herbs.
- Cover the fish with the hot potatoes, then pour over the crème fraîche mixture and top with the grated cheese and a grinding of pepper.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
Serve with a mustardy dressed green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.