Thomasina Miers’ recipe for grilled mackerel with seasoned barley salad | Food

l love ketchups. I love how their tart sweetness makes my mouth water, and how you can preserve a whole range of fruits by cooking them with onion and spices in this sweet and sour feast. The barely present cucumber scent in today’s ketchup works great with fish; I want to emphasize the lightness of both with a herb-strewn barley salad peppered with the sweet crunch of apple and toasted seeds. A summery dish that smells like a holiday by the sea and is perfect for the upcoming anniversary celebrations.

Grilled mackerel with spiced pearl barley salad and cucumber ketchup

The smokiness that comes from grilling the mackerel goes beautifully with the sharpness of the ketchup. You can also grill the fish if you prefer.

Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Serves 4

125 g pearl barleyrinsed
30g sunflower seeds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
plus extra to grease the fish
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
mackerel (depending on their size), stripped and cleaned
70 g arugula
2 apples
quartered, cored and sliced
40g mix of mint, chervil, parsley and dillcoarsely chopped

For the ketchup
2 cucumbers
cut into large chunks
1 small onionpeeled
A little thumb of ginger peeled
2 large cloves of garlic peeled
1 tsp Dijon mustard
80 ml sherry vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar

Make the ketchup first. Place everything in a blender, puree until smooth, then pour into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes, until reduced by a third.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the pearl barley according to package instructions (usually 25-30 minutes), until tender. While the barley is cooking, toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan until lightly browned and place in a small bowl.

When the pearl barley is cooked, drain it and put it in a separate bowl, dress with the olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste.

Heat the grill on the highest setting. Season the mackerel and rub everything with a little oil. Grill for three to four minutes on one side, then turn and grill for a few more minutes on the other side, until a skewer slides easily into the thickest part of the fish without any resistance.

Mix the barley with the rest of the salad ingredients, set aside some of the spice mix for garnish and place on plates with the mackerel and spoonfuls of cucumber ketchup. Sprinkle with the additional herbs and serve.

The simple flex

Cut eggplants into long slices and grill or barbeque – they are delicious with this salad and ketchup.