Sunday, 9 September 2007

My mums poisson grille(grilled fish)

Grilled fish is something that is cooked all over the island everyone loves this dish,.My first real life cooking demonstration of this happened in the seychelles when I was 4. I was sitting in my grandmothers back garden and she was crouched over a wood burning fire with a grill rack perched on this,(its the grill part of the barbeque) and on it lay eight or so mackerel from the indian ocean which are similar to their uk brothers. The fragrance of woody smoke coupled with the fish crisping and often having burnt bits has remained one of my favourite scents. It is the scent of summer, it is such an evocative scent that fish is barbequed I am often transported back to that moment.My dad was in the yard overlooking his mum as he had prepared the fish sipping a cold seybrew beer.
This has remained with me forever and I only realised I do the same thing when I get the wood stove going, light lager in hand, tongs in the other plates of fish seasoned and I'm ready to rock. God, I do love the theatre of cooking.It was served with a baked whole breadfruit baked in the embers of the fire available in many indian ,west indian food stores. Its a delicious form of light fluffy potato/sweet potato, bread cant really explain it but it really is worth seeking out it goes particularly well with grilled fish,I also love it with saltfish.Its a great background it is slightly sweet and bland (if that is possible) Image above. If you enjoy potato,sweet potato,yam,cassava you will enjoy it.
Grilled mackerel; serves 6 to 8

2 large mackerel, if you have access to billingsgate fish market you can often get the mackerel from the indian ocean.Smaller then the uk ones.Beautiful flavour, if not available dont worry the recipe has been made with uk mackerel I love this fish so much.

1 to 2 lemons depending on how large they are if they are big and juicy use one.

Salt ,pepper.

1tsp turmeric (this is something my mum does and her fish is the best )

This fish is done in stages so with the ingredients above take the fish removed guts and clean the stomach cavity .My mum always taught me to remove the black bits of the stomach and any blood clots (sounds gross but this is after all fresh fish)Slash the fish as shown in pic.Squeeze the lemon over the fish and in the stomach, this firms the fish and removes the scent,add salt and pepper,turmeric. Set aside and prepare the other ingredients.

6 to 12 chillies depending on how hot you like it .I love chillies so I use 12. cut into smallesr pieces

10g ginger peeled and cut in thick bits.

thyme(as pictured )about 10 little branches.

parsley a good handful chopped.

1/2 lemon.

In a pestle and mortar, (I have done this in a processor and in my opinion it does not have the same flavour the pounding action somehow develops a different flavour than the machine).Add the chillies,ginger, thyme, parsley,and pound until you have a mixture as shown . Add salt and lemon juice to taste it should have a kick and it should have a little citric tang.Use this mixture to stuff the slashes of the fish.(see picture). WARNING; please be careful with this mixture it is very hot do wash your hands throughly and be careful if you need to go to the tiolet,watch your eyes, It really burns!

At this stage the fish can be left quite happily.I often prepare this in the morning leave covered in the fridge and cook it in the evening.The flavours intensify.

When ready to cook set the grill on the cooker to the highest setting and grill the fish on either side if it starts to burn a little too quickly reduce the flame and cook slower, we do however want the fish a deep dark colour , you are trying to replicate the flavour you would get from a barbeque deeply charred and very smoky. It works very well in a conventional grill but taste even better cooked outdoors on wood burning fire/grill.
Serve with baked breadfruit and a simple cucumber salad.Baked breadfruit is done much the same as a baked potato in a conventional oven prick it and bake until soft, when you cut it, it will have a fibrous core remove this with a knife and eat hot immediately.Or you can boil them peel the thick green bobbly skin cut into wedges and remove the core.cover with water and boil,of the two I love it baked .Bon appetite!!!

1 comment:

Nick said...


I am definitely going to try this recipe! I enjoy the way you write - it is so evocative that I can almost smell the ginger! I am writing a blog at the moment on you and your recipes so that my wine lovers can try some of them out - it will be ready tomorrow morning so have a look!

Thanks for asking me to suggest some wines for the Poisson Grille. Like you, I would love to sipping Cos d'Estournel too but as it retails at £225 - £250 a bottle that is out of the question! It's one of the most complex wines to drink when its young and the 1982 is gorgeous. The wines I have chosen to go with this recipe are really good quality and very sensibly priced! They are available at

They will bring out the flavours of the ginger and parsley and cool down the chilli. You don't want anything too heavy with Mackerel as it is an oily fish. I would serve all the wine slightly chilled - but not too cold.

Chateau Au Berton (£6.74) - this is a red wine and although reds are not usually drunk with fish this one is very low in tannins and can actually be served slightly chilled. It's smooth, silky, fruity and clean - which will compliment the Mackerel.

Clairet de Chateau des Lisennes (£5.99) - clairet is the traditional Bordeaux version of rose wine. It is full bodied and has lovely intense, round aromas of redcurrants, raspberries and blackberries. It goes well with Tuna too.

And finally, a white, Un-oaked Montagnac Chardonnay (£4.75). This is a crisp wine that has not been aged in oak barrels so it is not like your usual Chardonnay. It has the fragrance of summer flowers, apples and vanilla and has good acidity.