2 fresh mackerel fillets, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
2 smoked mackerel fillets, lightly broken
100 ml olive oil
2 grams thyme leaves
2 grams coarse sea salt
8 turns fresh black pepper
40 ml sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
For the salad:
50 ml vegetable oil
100 grams smoked bacon cut into 2mm slices then cut into neat lardons or cubes
Bacon and Sherry Vinaigrette:
250 ml vegetable oil
110 grams smoked bacon lardons
4 banana shallot, finely sliced
12 turns of milled pepper
50 grams walnuts, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
160 ml sherry wine vinegar
40 grams soft brown sugar
10 grams Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
50 ml single cream
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
To finish the salad:
100 grams walnuts halves, lightly toasted and chopped
6 spring onions, coarsely sliced
350 grams baby watercress, washed
Mix together the olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar and the sugar. Place the fresh mackerel fillets onto an oiled baking tray and brush with the olive oil mixture.
Heat a non-stick saute pan on a high heat then add the oil. When hot add the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes till nice and crispy. Tip the bacon into a sieve and keep all the oil. Drain the bacon onto some kitchen paper.
Pour the oil from the drained bacon into a non stick saute pan along with the extra 100ml oil. Heat the pan and add the smoked bacon lardons. Cook gently, add the shallots, pepper, walnuts, garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes until they are soft.
Drain the bacon lardons and shallots into a sieve keeping all the oil from all the cooked bacon too.
Place the pan back onto the stove with the bacon, shallots and garlic mix then add 100ml sherry vinegar, soft brown sugar and reduce until it has all evaporated, keep aside in a bowl.
Place the mustard, remaining vinegar, egg yolks and freshly milled pepper into a bowl. Whisk for a minute until it thickens. Add the oil from the cooked bacon and the remaining vegetable oil. Whisk all the time as it starts to thicken. If the dressing is too thick add a little warm water. Add the cream and parsley and check the seasoning.
Place the mackerel under a hot grill to cook and cook for approx 3-4 minutes till golden.
Put the watercress in a bowl, with the sliced spring onions, chopped walnuts, first cooked bacon and shallot mix. Add enough of the dressing to bind the salad together, taste the salad then add a little salt and pepper if required.
Mix the salad well and add the smoked mackerel. Place into a bowl or plate, top with the cooked mackerel and sprinkle over the top the remaining crispy bacon and serve.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Tom Aikens for Selfridges; via River Cottage