Quick and easy fish

Holly has recently discovered she likes smoked mackerel. I've been eating it for years because it has many advantages: cheap, not endangered, tasty and being an oily fish it's got lots of the good stuff in it. So anyway, she's been getting me to cook it a lot recently.

Here's a really quick and easy meal I whipped up last Friday night. Dead easy, tasty and interesting both for flavours and textures.

The sweet potato is a bit of new ingredient for the Brits, and I've had people confused about what they are. Our local market sells two very different varieties interchangeably, often in the same basket. What you want are the yellow/orange-fleshed "kumara" type (though nobody here will know it by that name) not the white-fleshed yam type. Externally they look identical, but pick one up and scrape a tiny section of skin off with your thumbnail. If it's white, put it back. You want a deep orange/yellow colour. This picture shows you what you're looking for.

The sweet potato in this recipe works very well with the fish, adding a little sweetness and bulk to the dish. I also felt it was a bit lacking in starch, so I added a couple of sliced of oven roasted toast to bulk it up and soak up the garlic butter. By toasting it inthe oven you get a nice crunchiness, kind of like fried bread but without all that extra oil.


  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 2 sliced multigrain bread
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a shake of dried thyme
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • a short glug of oil

Pre-heat the oven to about 180°C.

Peel the sweet potato and slice it along its length in about 1cm slices. Then slice those into long, 1cm by 1cm chips.

Put a tiny amount of oil on a baking sheet and spread it around. Put the sweet potato on, with plenty of space around each. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn and cook another 20 minutes. You want them to start going golden brown.

While this is cooking, finely dice the garlic and heat it up with the butter. Throw in ashort shake of dried thyme, which adds a little warmth to the garlic butter.

When the sweet potato is cooked, leaving it in but bunching it up on the baking tray a bit, place the mackerel fillets on the tray, skin-side-down.

Arrange the slices of bread somewhere in the oven where they get heat from all sides. You want it to get nice and crispy, but not completely desiccated. You could do it in the toaster but you probably want it a bit dryer than you can get from that.

After ten minutes, the mackerel will be hot enough and the toast done. Take it all out of the oven and arrange like this:
Toast, sweet potato chips, mackerel, garlic butter.

Serve with some lightly steamed curly kale, which also benefits from a little garlic butter. Delicious!