Smoked Mackerel and Bean Salad with Quick Hollandaise

Smoked mackerel hollandaise salad

“You don’t win friends with salad” a wise man once said. Well, not true actually it was from an episode of The Simpsons from a frighteningly long time ago. It still gets an airing at BBQs even now.

How times change though, and now I’m actually a big fan of the salad and the endless combinations possible. I’ve droned on about drab salads in an earlier post but suffice to say, unless the ingredients are very good, I generally prefer warm versions.

This fits the bill then – warm smoked mackerel and a super quick hollandaise sauce paired with some leaves and blanched beans. I think it’s healthy, but then there is a fair bit of butter in the hollandaise of course. I think, all ingredients considered therefore, I’m eating good fats/bad fats and having my cholesterol both raised and lowered simultaneously. Confusing.

The hollandaise is a great recipe I got from the Guardian’s Felicity Coates. She does a nice column where she tries a number of different recipes to find the best take on a particular dish. I must admit this was very easy – just put the cold butter and egg yolk in a pan and turn on the heat to the lowest setting whisking thoroughly all the time. Season with salt, if needed, and lemon juice at the end once it’s thickened. Simple.

I was on my own this morning, so this serves one, but it’s easily altered to suit. There was more than enough hollandaise though, so could have possibly stretched to two people.

  • 1 smoked mackerel fillet
  • 1 handful of mixed leaves
  • 2 handfuls of mixed beans – I had peas, green beans and broad beans (fava beans)
  • 1 egg, soft boiled and halved

For the hollandaise:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60g/2 ounces butter – I used salted
  • Fresh lemon juice and salt to taste

Grill the mackerel, cut into bite size pieces and keep warm. Soft boil an egg, peel, halve it and arrange it on a plate with the salad and beans.

You’ll need to do this first so you can concentrate on the hollandaise as it doesn’t ‘rest’ well once made.

Take a small pan and place in the egg yolk and butter. Turn the heat onto the lowest setting and use the smallest hob you have.

Keep stirring continuously, I started with a balloon whisk but changed to a small silicon spatula to get into the edges.

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Once it starts to thicken, turn the heat up ever so slightly and keep whisking/stirring until thickened enough. Once done, I actually dipped the bottom of the pan in cold water to stop it cooking any more.

Add about a teaspoon of lemon juice, or to taste and salt if you need it.

Put the warm mackerel on a plate and spoon over the hollandaise. Good morning!

Smoked mackerel hollandaise salad

Really Quick Pork and Beans Chilli

Pork and Bean Chilli

Sometimes, but only sometimes mind you, a meal just comes together completely unplanned and turns out better you’d expected.

Last night was the end of a very long week and I’d planned to phone out for pizza to be honest. But, after a quick route forage through the fridge, freezer and cupboard (much to Helen’s despair – the kitchen was immaculately tidy until then) I came across these ingredients and the “pork and bean chilli” was ‘on’.

I had some minced pork in the freezer and chorizo, which to be honest I always seem to have, in the fridge. I added a lot of chilli to this though as I had quite a few to use up that were beginning to look a little long in the tooth. I’m not one of those pretentious guys who insist on sweating and wincing their way through a meal if it involves chilli as some form of ‘test’, but occaisionally I’m in the mood!

I used a carton of pasata for speed along with chipotle sauce and some sweet smoked paprika for a rich smoky background. I realised after these are most of the flavours in pulled pork – maybe that was the secret….

300g pork mince
100g chorizo. Skinned, halved and thinly sliced.
1 garlic clove
2 green chillis, sliced thinly – seeds and all plus extra to serve.
1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1tsp cumin, ground
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chipotle sauce
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced.
1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pasata (400g)
Salt.

In a large pan, simply fry off the garlic, onions and chilli and continue until the onions have softened. Add the pork and chorizo and brown nicely

Next put in the paprika, cumin, and beans and stir well.

Cover with the pasata, a little water,  the sugar and chipotle sauce and simmer for a few minutes with the lid off.

Serve with rice and extra sliced chilli ( 😉 )

Pork and bean chilli chipotle