Perfect match: smoked mackerel salad with viognier


  • Serves 4 people

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 30 ml Marsala
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 pink lady apple, quartered, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandolin and placed in iced acidulated water, fronds reserved
  • 1 punnet each baby purple basil and mustard cress, trimmed
  • 1½ cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn
  • To serve: grilled sourdough bread
  • Smoked mackerel
  • 100 gm woodchips, such as apple wood or mesquite, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour, drained
  • For greasing: vegetable oil
  • 8 mackerel fillets
01   For smoked mackerel, preheat a coal-bedded kettle barbecue to low heat and set up for indirect grilling (see note). Add half of woodchips around coals and cook until smoke appears (3-4 minutes). Place mackerel skin-side down on an oiled rack, cover with lid and smoke, adding extra woodchips if required, until cooked through (8-12 minutes). Cool to room temperature and coarsely flake (discard skin).
02   Meanwhile, combine vinegar, currants and Marsala in a bowl and set aside until currants are plump (30 minutes). Whisk in oil and garlic and season to taste.
03   Combine apple, fennel, basil, mustard cress, parsley and mackerel in a bowl, drizzle with a little currant dressing, toss to combine and season to taste. Serve drizzled with extra dressing, with grilled sourdough.

Note Indirect grilling is cooking away from the heat, using the top rack. It's important to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding woodchips.

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