Monday, 23 April 2012

Mackerel with olive, celery and raisin salsa with Kosheri

It's always nice when people come to dinner who are happy to eat anything. It's not that I don't trust recipes, but often I tweak them after the first attempt. Also, tonight I was doing two dishes which looked interesting although probably wouldn't necessarily complement each other. Regardless, sometimes it's worth cooking things just to see what they go with. After last week's trip to Ottolenghi, I was desperate to get stuck back into

The main was grilled mackerel, which after tossing the fillets in some olive oil, salt and pepper takes just about 4-5 minutes under a hot grill, skin side up. This was served with a cheeky little salsa which is so easy to make and whose sweet and salty notes balanced well with the fish. To make the salsa (for 4 people), mix 2 finely chopped celery stalks with 60g of thinly sliced green olives and 3 tbsp of capers. Next add 70g of good quality raisins, 1 1/2 tbsp of sherry vinegar, 4 tbsp of olive oil, 3 tbsp of honey, 15g of chopped flat leaf parsley and season to taste. Mix together, then place in the fridge until about half an hour before serving. Once fish is cooked, lay on a plate and spoon over the salsa. The combination of ingredients may seem a little unconventional but it works.

I was thinking about doing some sort of wild rice side dish with this, but then I noticed a recipe for an Egyptian street dish called Kosheri. Traditionally it is served with a spicy tomato sauce which next time I will make. I relented on this occasion due to it clashing with the above salsa. Anyway, the ingredients are : 300g green lentils, 200g basmati rice, 40g unsalted butter, 50g vermicelli noodles, 400ml chicken stock, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinammon, seasoning, 4tbsp olive oil, 2 onions - halved and thinly sliced.

1. Wash and drain the lentils in a sieve. Place in a saucepan and cook as normal for about 20 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Wash and drain the rice. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the noodles, coat and stir until golden brown. Add the rice and stir well. Now add the stock, spices and seasoning. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and then simmer for about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and place a towel over the top.
3. Saute the onions in olive oil until they caramelise and turn dark brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
4. To serve, fluff up the rice with a fork and add the lentils and 3/4 of the onions. Season to taste, then pile high on a plate. Garnish with the remaining onions.

The textures are very wholesome, but it does need something spicy or zingy to lift it.

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