These spicy flatbreads are perfect for an informal summer lunch. The cooling cucumber and light yoghurt dressing are a great match for punchy North African spices and rich fish.
To remove the pin bones (the line of small bones that runs down the centre of each fillet), use a small, very sharp knife and cut at an angle either side of the line, creating a V-shaped channel. Lift one end of the strip with the tip of the knife and pull away gently in one piece. As an alternative, the bones can be pulled out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers while pressing down gently on the fillet behind the bone. It’s not difficult but your fishmonger will also happily do it for you.
Serves 4 as a generous starter or light lunch
For the dressing
150g natural yoghurt
40g harissa paste
ó lemon, juice only
For the pickled cucumber
ó large cucumber
Maldon sea salt
50ml cider (or white wine) vinegar
50g caster sugar
For the fish
4 large, fresh mackerel, filleted and pin bones removed
4 tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp oil for frying
8 large, soft flatbreads
1. Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
2. Make the dressing by spooning the yoghurt into a small bowl. Stir in the harissa, add the lemon juice and stir well.
3. Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds using a teaspoon and slice into ócm crescents. Season the cucumber with a generous pinch of salt.
4. Prepare the pickling liquid by stirring the sugar and vinegar together until dissolved. Pour the liquid over the cucumber pieces and put to one side, turning occasionally while you prepare the fish.
5. Spread 1/2 tsp of harissa paste onto the flesh side of each mackerel fillet. Add the oil to a large, non-stick frying pan on a high heat and fry the fish, skin side down, for about 3 minutes. The fillets will curl up as they hit the heat but gentle, firm pressure from a palette knife will flatten them out again. Don’t be tempted to move them around the pan. When the skin is browned and crispy, turn and fry for 30 seconds more, flesh side down.
Well Seasoned: Exploring, Cooking and Eating with the Seasons
£25, Head of Zeus