Mackerel salad sandwiches recipe
On the banks of the Bosphorus river in Istanbul at lunchtime you find roadside carts selling chargrilled fresh mackerel salad sandwiches called ‘balik ekmek’. Mackerel has a wonderful, rich flavour, is micronutrient-dense and often comes ready to eat. For some reason it is constantly overlooked by people doing their weekly shops; this flavour-packed recipe will hopefully go some way towards changing this.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the sandwiches
2 fillets of vacuum-packed smoked mackerel (100g each)
2 sections of French baguette, each about 15cm long
For the salad dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp honey
1 tsp pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp garlic granules
½ tsp sumac (optional)
For the salad
75g grated carrot
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe tomato, halved and thinly sliced
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Start by heating a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Place the mackerel fillets (keep the skin on) in the pan and crisp them up by cooking for two minutes on each side. Mackerel is a very oily fish and as it cooks will release lots of oil into the pan, so no extra oil is needed.
Carefully remove the mackerel and place on a plate. Slice your baguettes in half and place them face down in the non-stick pan. They will soak up the oily mackerel juices and crisp up in just a few minutes.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour this over the carrot, onion, tomato and parsley.
To serve, place the salad on the base of the toasted baguette and top with a crispy mackerel fillet, followed by the lid of the baguette. Serve immediately or pack for lunch.
Mackerel is a fantastic source of omega-3 oils (which our gut bugs love), a source of vitamin B12, and has variable (but impressive) vitamin D content. Mackerel is also naturally abundant in selenium, an important chemical that supports healthy immunity and brain function.