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.


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


Smoked Mackerel on Rye Toast

Smoked Mackerel Rye Toast

I’ll admit, I haven’t been cooking much lately – it’s restaurant week in Newcastle and we’ve been trying some of the City’s specially prepared set menus. It’s been great, but the waistline will only take so much.

So, I thought I’d post this dish I made last weekend. We actually had it for breakfast but it would make a great light lunch.

Mackerel has made the headlines in the UK recently, being reduced from a fish ‘suitable to eat’ by the Marine Conservation Society to one we should eat only occasionally. Shame as it’s a favourite of mine and very good for you. The jury is still out apparently though so let’s see what happens.

This is very simple but very tasty, if a bit decadent, using butter and a little single cream. The mackerel is grilled under a high heat and combined with scrambled egg, parsley and ¬†wholegrain mustard. It’s served up on some buttered hot rye bread toast. Heaven.

I used a take on the Heston Blumenthal ‘bain-marie’ method for cooking the eggs as it leaves them lovely and soft, but the regular pan method works too!

Serves 2

  • Two smoked mackerel fillets
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • About 2 tbsp single cream
  • 1 knob butter
  • 2 sliced of rye bread, toasted and buttered.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Tartare sauce to serve.

Remove the skin and grill the mackerel fillets under a high heat, skinned side down, until nicely coloured. About 5 minutes if the grill is preheated.

Turn the grill off and leave at the bottom until ready to use.

Next – make the scrambled egg. in a small pan, bring some water to a boil (or use some from a kettle). Add a heat proof bowl on top so it sits on top of the pan and melt in the butter. Whisk in four eggs thoroughly until an even colour. With the water boiling below, stir often; it takes a while but the eggs will eventually begin to scramble. The gentle heat allows you to get the consistency just right, and catch it before it starts to turn ‘rubbery’.

Whilst this is happening, get the toast under the grill.

Once ready (a cooked risotto-like consistency), remove the bowl from the heat.

Slice the mackerel fillets and add to the eggs along with the cream and mustard. Stir thoroughly. Season with the pepper and salt only if it’s needed (the mackerel should be salty enough). Finish with the parsley and serve up on the toast, with some tartare sauce if you like!

Smoked Mackerel and Egg on Rye Toast