Sushi, and more particularly the notion of eating raw fish, is not something we’re especially used to in Ireland.
We like our fish cooked or, at the very least, cured or smoked. In fact, for an island nation, we are often guilty of underappreciating the quality and range of fish on our shorestep. Take mackerel – cheap, full of flavour, and with the extra brownie points that come from being sustainable. Popular with the Japanese either raw or salt-cured as a sushi fish, I thought I’d give mackerel and the sushi roll an Irish interpretation which involves (a) cooking the fish first (I’m Irish, remember) (b) replacing sushi rice with potatoes (well, obviously) (c) using the cooked mackerel skin as a wrapper instead of seaweed, though seaweed does feature, in the form of dillisk added to the potatoes.
I’m submitting this as part of this month’s 5 Star Makeover, hosted by Natasha of Five Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks. Following last month’s twisting and turning of the Bacon and Eggs theme, this month sees Sustainable Fish get the makeover treatment. Look out for a fishy feast on Natasha and Lazaro’s blogs this coming Friday.
Mackerel Potato Rolls
The idea is simple, if a little fiddly to execute: fry the mackerel fillets, gently separate the cooked flesh from the skin, season (with, say, parsley and lemon or ginger and spring onions), then top the skin with dillisk mashed potatoes, some seasoned mackerel flesh and form into rolls. Leftover cooked mackerel can be served with salad alongside the rolls or mixed with additional potatoes. As with any use of mackerel, the fish should be as spankingly fresh as possible.
For the mash:
- 600g potatoes (about 3 medium-sized), preferably a floury variety
- 3 tblsp butter, melted
- 3 tblsp milk
- A couple of pieces of dried dillisk, soaked briefly in cold water to soften and finely chopped (abt 2 tsp chopped dillisk)
- vegetable oil for frying
For the fish:
- 2 tblsp plain flour
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 mackerel, filleted, with skin left on (so 8 individual fillets, about 500-600g)
- vegetable oil for frying
- a handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4-5 tblsp lemon juice or to taste
You’ll also need:
- A potato ricer is useful, though not essential, for mashing the potatoes, plus you’ll need large frying pan, preferably non-stick.
The Mash Steps:
- Wash your potatoes and peel them, keeping aside the peels. Cut the potatoes into roughly even-sized slices, around 1-2cm thick. Rinse them under cold water.
- Bring about 1.25l of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 1.5 tsp salt and the potato slices.
- Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 10-15 minutes or until just fork-tender. While they’re simmering, you can shred the potato peels and fry them in a hot pan with a little oil and a pinch of salt until crispy, as described here.
- When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Then either let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or place the pan over a low heat and stir the potatoes gently for a minute or so while they dry out.
- Put the cooked and still warm potatoes through a potato ricer, if you have one, or mash with a potato masher or, if all else fails, a fork.
- Pour in the melted butter and stir through the potatoes, followed by the milk. You should have a fairly stiff mash.
- Add the chopped dillisk and check for seasoning – the dillisk will add some saltiness so you may not need additional salt.
The Fish Steps:
- Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and some black pepper and use to lightly coat the mackerel fillets.
- Place your frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot add a small splash of vegetable oil.
- Working in batches, fry the mackerel fillets: place them skin side down first, fry for 2-3 minutes, turn and fry for another 1-2 minutes, until the flesh is no longer translucent. Drain on kitchen paper.
- When the mackerel are cooked, carefully separate the cooked flesh from the skins, removing any stray bones as you do so.
- Add the cooked mackerel to a bowl along with the chopped parsley, lemon juice, black pepper and salt to taste. Mash together well.
- To assemble, lay out the mackerel skins, external side down. Spread about 2 tblsp of the dillisk mash along each skin and top with about 2 tblsp of cooked mackerel. Gently roll up each filled skin.
- You’ll need a bit less than half of the mash and the cooked mackerel to fill the skins, so once you’re done, take the remaining mash and mackerel, mix together, check seasoning and serve alongside the mackerel rolls, garnished with the fried potato peels.
- You can certainly vary what you add to the fish and/or the mash e.g try replacing the parsley with about 1 tsp grated root ginger and 6-8 finely chopped spring onions. You could also try using smoked mackerel instead of fried here.
- Serves 4 as a lunch, along with, say, a green salad.