PLANK-COOKED MACKEREL WITH CHERMOULA & MOROCCAN BEETS
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Plank-cooked mackerel with chermoula & Moroccan Beets

By Ross Geach

Smoked mackerel gets a fragrant North African twist.

  • SMOKING
  • FISH

OVERVIEW

Mackerel’s great at standing up to big, bold flavours, like this chermoula — a kind of North African salsa. The result is beautiful, unctuous and aromatic. Serve as a starter with a hunk of bread to mop up the juices, or as a main course with roasted new potatoes or couscous.

SET UP

Soak your Alder Grilling Board and woodchips in water for an hour. Set the EGG up direct with a Half Moon Cast Iron Searing Grid. Aim for a temperature of around 220˚C. When we add our fish later, that'll bring the temperature down to about 200˚C, which is exactly where we want to be.

ingredients cooking the beetroot

COOK THE BEETS DIRTY

Take your baby beetroots. If they're fresh, baby-sized ones, add them to your coals towards the outer edge. The bigger the beetroot, the closer to the glowing centre it should be. Leave them cooking dirty for about 18-20 minutes. You want them softened yet still retaining a firm feel, so really big beetroots could take up to 30 minutes. Adjust the timings for your mackerel accordingly.

prepare the mackerel with the chermoula

MAKE THE CHERMOULA

In the meantime, you can start making your chermoula. Finely chop your garlic, coriander and chilli. Add to a large mixing bowl with the cumin, cayenne, paprika, a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and your olive oil, rose water, preserved lemon and vinegar. Season with coarse sea salt and give it all a stir.

Spoon a generous amount of the chermoula onto one of your mackerel fillets. Press it down into the fish to hold it in place. Fold the second fillet on top of the first. Repeat with your second mackerel.

Place the mackerel gently onto your soaked alder wood board.

smoke the fish fish on the plank

SMOKE THE FISH

Take your beetroots out and add a handful of the soaked Hickory Wood Chips to the coals. Now, add the mackerel on the board directly onto the searing grid. Close the lid and leave for 8-10 minutes.

We want to tap into the smoky flavour of the beetroots as much as possible, so if you're using small, fresh ones, don't bother peeling them. If your beets are a bit bigger, wash them in cold water while rubbing the skin away with your hands. Dice roughly, then add to a mixing bowl. Dress with a little more of the chermoula

fish on a dish

Your mackerel should be done by now. You'll know for sure by using a probe: you're looking for a temperature of 45˚C. Plate up using a fish slice, spooning on a healthy amount of the Moroccan beets.

Enjoy while it's hot!