I don’t really like roast dinners. I’m sure that’s heresy in some quarters, but it’s the truth. From a young age I eschewed gravy on any roast dinner (yes, I know, I’m a heathen), preferring to retain the integrity, structure and substance of my food, rather than reduce it to a plate of sloppy gruel that could be consumed via a straw. This doesn’t mean I like my food dry, I just favour the legion other inspiring sauces and condiments made available to us, such as mint sauce, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise (on roast potatoes and chips, of course) and horseradish. I’d even say that I prefer the flavour hit of horseradish sauce to the flavour of roast beef. Of course beef has more depth, character and nutritional value, but horseradish will never fail to get the attention of your taste buds tout de suite in a way little else does.
Perhaps this ambivalence towards roast dinners partially fuelled my diet’s edge towards being fish-centric around 7 years ago. So imagine my joy when I discovered how horseradish goes spectacularly well with mackerel, one of my staple, go-to fish. It’s such an abundant fish, gleaned from our shores, iridescant in colour and also represents great value, nutritionally and fiscally. Things got even better when I discovered that it’s available as a smoked fish, which had also somehow escaped me for the first thirty years or so of my life.
You see, smoked fish is my kryptonite. It makes me go weak at the knees and puts me under it’s power. Smoked salmon was always a treat, sneaking a few slices at Christmas, weddings, or elaborate birthday buffets, along with those ever present and luxurious prawns. When I was older, I realised that I could buy smoked salmon and simply eat it straight from the wrapper like a packet of crisps. Kippers were also a top favourite, as I find the super smokey flavour utterly compelling.
This recipe was on a winning streak from the outset, as it brings together a couple of those favourite flavours, smoked mackerel and horseradish. The idea for it was the result of my hunting for a quick to make, yet filling hot lunch that wasn’t soup or bread based. I now have this regularly for lunch, boiling up a few days worth of potatoes in advance and keep them covered in the fridge, meaning the whole dish can be whipped up in under 10 minutes. It really makes for an incredibly tasty lunch that’s packed with goodness and leaves you feeling utterly contented, I can’t recommend it enough. A forkful of omelette squished up with a few leaves really makes a fine mouthful of flavour.
Smoked mackerel omelette with horseradish
By Gavin Wren
Uses a saucepan and a frying pan
90g new potatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 mackerel fillet
For the salad:
35-50g mixed salad leaves
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Meanwhile, break your eggs into a jug or mug, season them and beat them lightly. When the potatoes are cooked, pour the egg mixture over the top and swirl it around the pan, occasionally bringing the edges in with a spatula, allowing the liquid egg to flow back onto the base of the pan.
Break your mackerel fillet into pieces over the pan, scattering them across the top of the omelette. When the top of the omelette is nearly cooked, so when it’s just about to turn solid, fold two opposite edges over, into the middle and slide it onto a plate. Scatter the chives on top (alternatively, simply cut the chives using scissors, directly onto the omelette).
Finally, place a handful of salad leaves next to your omelette, dot the horseradish over the leaves, and drizzle 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons olive oil over them.