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    Grilled Mackerel 'Sandwich' with Pistachio Pesto

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    Grilled Mackerel 'Sandwich' with Pistachio Pesto

    This makes a wonderful picnic dish when stuffed into pittas, but if I were serving it at home, I would pile it up on a plate and turn it into something altogether more special.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 90 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes 60 minutes 45 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 2 medium tomatoes
    • 1 tsp light muscovado sugar
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 mackerel fillets, about 100g each
    • 4 pittas
    • 150g thick Greek yogurt
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • Pesto
    • 40g pistachio nuts, shelled
    • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
    • 10g mint, roughly chopped, plus a few leaves to decorate
    • 10g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus a few leaves to decorate
    • 1 lime, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice
    • 1 small mild chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed


    1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas 1. Cut the tomatoes in half along their 'belly' and place on a roasting tray, skin-side down. Scatter with the sugar and 1 crushed garlic clove; season and drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are dried but still juicy.
    2. Meanwhile, make the pesto (try to do this as late as possible before serving; the pesto tends to discolour, though the flavour is not affected by this). Put the pistachios in a blender and process until fine. Add the remaining pesto ingredients and blend again. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    3. Debone the mackerel fillets. Rub with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season well. Heat a ridged griddle pan or barbecue and cook the fish skin-side down for 4–5 minutes until cooked through.
    4. Grill the pittas for 1–2 minutes, then place each on a serving plate. Mix the Greek yogurt with the remaining crushed garlic and spoon it over, then top generously with the pesto. Place a mackerel fillet and a tomato half on each pitta. Scatter over some mint and parsley and serve with the lime wedges. Alternatively, just stuff everything inside the pitta for a picnic.

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    Drinks recommendation

    Authentically dry vinho verde is light enough to quaff but also has enough vivacity to cut the mackerel’s richness.


    Average user rating

    4 stars