Thursday, February 23, 2012


serves 4 as a light main course

For the salad:
1 small and sweet onion
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
500 grams small salad potatoes
mixed leaves frisée, watercress, rocket

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons groundnut oil
1 heaped teaspoon capers
4 bushy sprigs dill

For the fish:
6 thin rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 fresh fillets mackerel
plain flour a little for coating
groundnut oil a little

Peel and finely slice the onion into rings. Put them into a small bowl with the white-wine vinegar and set aside for 30 minutes or more, tossing occasionally. This removes any harshness and will slightly soften the onion's flesh.

Boil the potatoes in deep, generously salted water for 15 minutes until they are tender. Drain, and when they are ready, slice each thickly and add them to the dressing below.

While the potatoes are boiling make the dressing by putting a generous pinch of salt in a bowl, adding the cider vinegar and stirring to dissolve. Mix in the mustard, oil and then add the capers, rinsed briefly. Chop the dill leaves and stalks finely then add to the dressing and set aside. Add the drained and sliced potatoes as soon as they're ready.

Drain the onion rings, discard the vinegar, add the onions to the potatoes and stir gently. Set aside.

Warm a little oil in a nonstick frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the bacon rashers and fry until crisp, rest them briefly on a piece of kitchen paper, then snip into pieces the size of a postage stamp. Turn the heat off under the pan, but leave any bacon fat in the pan for cooking the fish.

Put a thin layer of flour on a plate and season with salt and finely ground black pepper. Lay the fillets in the flour, pat firmly then turn and coat the other side.

Warm the bacon fat, lower the fillets into the pan skin side down and leave to brown lightly. When the skin is just starting to crisp, slide a palette knife under the fish and turn it over. Lightly brown the other side, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Gently break or cut each fish fillet into four or five rough pieces.

Divide the salad leaves between four plates or shallow dishes. Pile the potatoes and onion rings on top leaving any dressing behind in the bowl. Add the pieces of warm fish and scatter over the bacon. Spoon over any remaining dressing from the potato bowl and serve immediately.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Nigel Slater, The Observer, March 19, 2011

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