Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cornish Mackerel and Potato Cakes

St. Piran's is the patron saint of Cornwall and so for his birthday, March 5, A and I had a little St. Piran's themed dinner. It is actually quite difficult, thinking up Cornish foods other than pasties and clotted cream, so it took a little bit of searching before we came up with a starter of Cornish mackerel over Cornish potato cakes. I don't think they're usually served together like this, but I had to take some liberties.

The mackerel was incredible and I will definitely be making it again - the lime, coriander, garlic and chili marinade permeated the fish and it roasted up very quickly under the grill. It was probably helped by the fact that we got fresh fish from the grocery store that day.

Alas, the potato cakes did not fare as well - I wouldn't recommend the recipe below as it made cakes that I think were too gummy in texture. It seemed like a lot of flour when I was mixing it together, and after tasting it, I think that is the problem - I would prefer my potato cakes to taste more of potato and less of gluten. I should have stuck with the original plan - mash potatoes, shape into cakes, dust with flour and fry.

Cornish Mackerel With Lime And Coriander

From a Waitrose recipe


2 whole Cornish mackerel, cleaned, from the fish service counter
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
20g pack fresh coriander, finely chopped (including the stems)
1 clove garlic, crushed


Make 4 diagonal slashes across the mackerel on each side, cutting down to the bone. Place in a shallow dish.

Make the rub by mixing the chilli, lime zest and juice, olive oil, coriander, garlic and a little sea salt. Place one-third of the rub into the cavity of each fish and rub the remainder over the skin. Cover, place in the fridge and marinate for 30 minutes-1 hour.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to high - or heat the barbecue, making sure the coals are glowing red under a thin layer of ash before you start cooking. Place the mackerel on a grill rack, drizzling over any remaining lime juice from the rub, and cook for 6-7 minutes on each side until the skin is crispy and the flesh just-cooked.

(I filleted the mackerel before serving, placing half a fillet on each potato cake.)

Potato Cakes
Adapted from Cornish Recipes


4 medium potatoes 

2 oz butter
a little milk salt
4 oz plain flour white pepper


Peel the potatoes, chop into 1" cubes, and boil until soft in lightly salted water. Drain potatoes, mash with a little milk and season with salt and white pepper. Leave to cool.

In a bowl, rub the margarine into the flour, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the (cool) mashed potatoes, and mix well.

With floury hands, form the mixture into patty shapes the size of burgers, and fry in a little butter in a frying pan, turning halfway through. Delicious served with a little butter on top.

(These can be frozen easily after forming into patty shapes. Flash freeze on trays, then gather up into bags later. Easy to make a lot in advance and then just pull out whenever you want a fry-up.) 

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