Iron Chef UK

Grilled and smoked mackerel with a watercress and bacon recipe

from Iron Chef
Combine fresh mackerel and smoked mackerel in this light main course dish from Tom Aikens as he takes on the Iron Chef challenge

Serves 4


  • 4 fresh mackerel fillets
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 40ml sherry wine vinegar
  • 2g thyme leaves
  • 2g coarse sea salt
  • 8 turns fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

For the salad:

  • 100g smoked bacon
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 350g baby watercress, washed
  • 6 spring onions, coarsely sliced
  • 100g peeled walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped

For the bacon and sherry vinaigrette:

  • 110g raw smoked bacon lardons
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 4 banana shallots, sliced
  • 12 turns of milled pepper
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tsp thyme leaves
  • 160ml sherry wine vinegar
  • 40g soft brown sugar
  • 10g Dijon mustard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley


How to make grilled and smoked mackerel

1. Prep the mackerel fillets, each one trimmed and cut into 3 pieces.

2. Lightly break up the two smoked mackerel fillets.

3. Mix the olive oil and sherry vinegar together with the thyme leaves, salt, pepper and sugar.

4. Place the mackerel fillets onto an oiled tray, brush the dressing onto the fillets and leave for later.

For the salad:

5. Cut the smoked bacon into 2mm slices then cut into neat lardons.

6. Heat a non-stick sauté pan on a high heat then add the oil and when hot add the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, until nice and crispy.

7. Tip the bacon into a sieve and keep all the oil from the bacon. Place the lardons onto some kitchen paper to drain.

8. To finish the salad, lightly toast and chop the peeled walnuts.

To make the bacon and sherry vinaigrette:

9. Cook the bacon until crispy in a non stick sauté pan with the oil from the first batch of bacon and with an extra 100ml oil. Add the shallots, pepper, walnuts, garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes, until they are just soft.

10. Drain the bacon and shallots into a sieve, keeping all the oil again. Place the pan back onto the stove with the bacon, shallot and garlic mix then add 100ml sherry vinegar and the soft brown sugar and reduce until it has all evaporated. Keep aside in a bowl.

11. Place into another bowl, the mustard, remaining vinegar, egg yolks and fresh milled pepper and whisk for a minute until it thickens. Add the oil from the cooked bacon and the remaining vegetable oil. Whisk all the time and as it starts to thicken you may need to add a little warm water, to keep it to a dressing consistency.

12. Add the cream and parsley at the end and re-season if needed.

To finish:

13. Place the mackerel under a hot grill and cook for approx 3-4 minutes, until golden.

14. Put the watercress in a bowl with the sliced spring onions, chopped walnuts, first cooked bacon (keep some bacon aside for garnish) and shallot mix. Add enough of the dressing to bind the salad together, taste the salad then add a little salt and pepper if required.

15. Mix the salad well then add the smoked mackerel too, before placing into a serving bowl or plate. Sprinkle the remaining crispy bacon over the top and serve topped with the grilled mackerel fillets.


Average rating: 5/5
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Iron Chef UK

Last Broadcast: Friday 17 December 12.20PM
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