Having had the opportunity to interview the fantastic Rick Stein recently, I left just a wee bit inspired – and just about all my food since has been South East Asian in influence. I was just reminded of the zing, the freshness, the delicious combination of hot, salty, sour and sweet, along with the textural pleasures of crunchy vegetables and peanuts, rice, noodles and crispy shallots.
I was inspired by the idea he suggested for making a salad with our very own smoked trout and decided to give it a go myself. But the fishmonger had sold out of trout so I went for some incredible home smoked mackerel.
So I have no shame in admitting this is straight from the Rick Stein school of cookery – and a teatime treat it was too. The idea of frying the smoked mackerel gives it a wonderful texture.
Green mango salad with crispy smoked mackerel à la Rick Stein
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 4 smoked mackerel fillets or 2 whole smoked mackerel
- 1 green mango
- 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, julienned
- ½ a cucumber, seeded and julienned
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
- A large handful of mint, roughly chopped
- A large handful peanuts, roughly chopped
For the dressing
- 2 limes
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 2 tbs palm sugar
- 2-3 bird’s eye chillies
For the crispy shallots
- 250ml vegetable oil
- 10 thai shallots or 1 red onion, finely sliced
Cut the mango into matchsticks – if you can’t find green mango you could leave it out or use a regular one, but it is worth seeking out. Mix with the rest of the salad ingredients and set aside.
Make the crispy shallots by heating the oil in a high-sided saucepan until a cube of white bread browns in a minute. Add the shallots (you may need to do this in two or three batches). Fry until crispy, a matter of a minute or two. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Make the dressing by finely chopping the chillies and mixing with the rest of the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.
Fry the mackerel in a frying pan in a few tablespoons of peanut oil (groundnut), turning once, until crispy – roughly five minutes. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Flake the fish into the salad in 2 cm chunks, turning gently so as not to break up the flakes of fish.
Place onto a serving dish and garnish with the peanuts and a few more chopped herbs.