We use mackerel and pollack heavily at Cookery School and at Rosalind’s Kitchen. At Rosalind’s Kitchen, pollack fish cakes and goujons are a mainstay of the menu (always served with a delicious homemade aioli or salsa). At Cookery School, pollack and mackerel are a major part of our Sustainable Fish Class where we show people how to make such lovely dishes as fish pie and pickled mackerel.
The reason we use pollack and mackerel so heavily are because we can obtain these fish from sustainable sources (as verified by the Marine Conservation Society who can vouch that these species are fished sustainably using methods that don’t damage the environment or other marine life).
As pollack and mackerel are such an important part of our cookery, I wanted to share with you some tips on how you can use these fish species in your own cooking.
Pollack is a lovely, versatile white fish that we tend to use as a substitute for threatened species, particularly cod. Pollack is a wee bit softer than cod, but works just as well and is very tasty. We use it in fish cakes and goujons, both oven-baked.
Pollack also makes a beautiful fish plaki, a Greek style dish with onions, tomatoes and olives (in the winter, try onions, fennel, or even spinach).
Of course, with quality fish, simple is often best. Try pollack grilled with herbs. Or pair it with a beautiful sauce such as black butter sauce, hollandaise or bearnaise.
This oily fish is endlessly versatile. We like to smoke mackerel using tea leaves and sugar in a pan lined with foil. This we serve with a relish made of pear and port, or anything sweet and sour like a good balsamic vinegar.
Mackerel is an oily fish, packed with healthy omega-3s. It’s delicious simply grilled but it needs to be served with something to cut through its inherent fattiness. A compote of something sharp like rhubarb is a good start. Other fruit compotes can be made sharp by the addition of vinegar, salt and sugar.
Soused mackerel is gorgeous. Make a light pickle of vinegar, salt, sugar and water and season to taste. Pop thinly sliced onion into the pan along with pickling spices, a wee bit of slivered carrot looks pretty too. Add the mackerel to this and simply cook it in the oven until it just turns opaque (do not overcook!). Chill and eat.
If you have any questions about how to cook with sustainable fish, feel free to ask us here in the comments, or come ask us on Twitter and Facebook! We really do love to hear from you.
For more information on our sustainablity efforts, please visit our website.