Im sure regular readers here know I tend to look to Northern Europe for inspiration for a lot of my dishes, but really it is to Normandy we Irish should look.
I am uploading this while at work - on a ship - so you will have to wait for some better photos folks - sorry, some even upload sideways from here!
Why we never developed a better cuisine culture in Ireland I will never know, probably has something to do with a landless peasant class, and a virtual fuedal system lasting so long, but that is too big a divergence.
I feel that Normandy, with its climate, mixed Celtic and Norman heritage and its food produce is a great place for us to look at, with dairy, seafoodmeat and fruit more like our own than the rest of France.
This dish could not be simpler, with sustainable fish and home grown veg and fruit.
This really is one of my favorite meals.
Use a good medium-dry cider to make a fairly sharp sauce.
This will contrast well with the rich definite flavour of the mackerel.
There's nothing fancy about this dish, the only advice I'd give is to try and find a good real cider if you can.
English and Welsh readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to organic ciders, especially in the west country, make really good but astoundingly potent ciders they call scrumpy.
I have not tried it yet but there is an artisan cider producer in Ireland I can find based out of Dublin.
Fruit and Vine who produce, among other things, Double L cider, are available from several outlets that you can find online at their website, I'm looking forward to trying their cider and especially the Balsamic Cider Vinegar when I get home.
Also, a big thanks to the beer revolu, a regular poster at boards.ie who also suggested Stonewell cider from Cork.
I really think it is important to support and promote our own artisan producers, so I'd give them a shot over the big corporations like Magners/Bulmers whose cider need to be mass produced to the same consistency, thats fine for some-like MacDonalds, and has its place, but I like to have variation and choice as well.
- Fresh whole mackerel, cleaned and filleted as you like (one each)
- Enough dry cider to come half way up the fish (about 1 or 2 wine glasses)
- 1 large Bramley Apple,diced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- White Pepper
- tsp whole grain mustard
Gut, clean and fillet fish.
Wipe the mackerel with a bit of kitchen paper.
Put it in an overnproof dish with the onion, cider, mustard and a little pepper.
Peel, core and chop the apples into smallish chunks.
Push some of them into the middle of the mackerel and place the rest round.
Spoon the cider over them and the fish.
Cover the dish and put in the oven or 15 mins.
Remove the cover and cook for another 15 mins.
Lift the fish out onto a warm plate and pop in the (now switched off) oven leaving the door ajar.
Pour the juices into a small pan with some of the apples.
Cook fairly quickly, mashing up the soft apples, to make a sauce.
Put the remaining apples round the fish and pour the sauce over.
Serve with potatoes and some nice garden green - spinach or chard is great with this.