small bites: smoked mackerel with gooseberry and camomile compote
Given the abundance of sweet, lush and juicy soft fruit available, gooseberries have to work hard to find a place at the table during the summer months.
They really can’t rival the juicy sweetness of a bowl of ripe strawberries and lush raspberries topped with a generous spoonful of ricotta and a drizzle of good honey. What those beautiful semi transparent orbs do offer though is a tart note that makes summer savoury dishes a bit more interesting.
This combination of mackerel and gooseberry is not revolutionary; it’s a classic flavour pairing and is one of my favourite simple, speedy supper dishes - pan fried fresh mackerel with a dollop of gooseberry sauce and a side of well seasoned potatoes, simply boiled.
This recipe came about because I had some leftover gooseberry and camomile sauce from a cheesecake I was making and wanted to add a layer of tart sweetness to cut through the dense, soft ‘cheese’ layer. Pulling together some leftover pancakes from breakfast and a few fillets of smoked mackerel, it came together quite quickly. Using saucer sized pancakes would produce little wraps that would make good for a picnic. I started to get a little cheffy and made about a dozen little bites that were polished off pretty quickly. They would work well for a party, or maybe a light starter.
- 2 large pre-made pancakes
- 200g red gooseberries, washed, topped and tailed
- 50 ml hot water infused with camomile
- 2tbsp coconut sugar
- Handful lambs lettuce
- A couple of radishes, thinly sliced
If you don’t have pancakes ready made, whip up a batch of batter using 1 cup rye flour, 1 egg and 1 cup milk. Beat into a smooth batter and allow to rest.
To make the compote, place the sugar in a pan and add the camomile infusion. Heat to dissolve the sugar and add the gooseberries. Simmer on a medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool. (I like my compote to be quite tart. You can add more sugar to suit your own palate.)
Heat a drop of oil in a pan and add a ladle of the pancake batter. Heat until the pancake starts to bubble and blister and then flip – appprox 2 minutes on each side.
Using an egg cup, cut out little rounds from the cold pancake. Top with a couple of leaves of the lambs lettuce and a slice of radish. Drizzle with some good olive oil.