Pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw

Pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw

Pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw

Grown in the dark and picked by candlelight, forced rhubarb has been grown in the UK under these unusual conditions since the 1800s. The process, which lengthens the season and produces a sweeter and pinker rhubarb, is a time-consuming business and in recognition of its heritage, forced rhubarb was awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in 2010.

It's no secret that I am a HUGE rhubarb fan, so when I spotted packs of forced rhubarb at my local Waitrose in Hythe, £3 for 400g, I grabbed some. My first instinct was to make a rhubarb crumble, which I did (and I used the crumble topping from this Nigel Slater recipe which is by far the best crumble-top mix ever).

But then a second instinct hit me, savoury. I'd not had rhubarb in a savoury dish before and such perfectly pink rhubarb needed to be used wisely. A quick Google search and I discovered a Pan Fried Mackeral with Rhubarb Coleslaw recipe here, so we tried it out for a special grown ups lunch whilst the children were at school.

Pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw

Pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw

Ingredients (serves 2)

Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp caster sugar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 fennel bulb, as thinly sliced as you can manage
150g rhubarb, as thinly sliced as you can manage
150g radishes, as thinly sliced as you can manage
2 tbsp olive oil
2 mackerel fillets
2 bagels (you can use any rolls, toast, brioche you fancy)

 

Method

1.  Mix the lemon juice with the sugar and salt & pepper in a mixing bowl bowl. Toss the thinly sliced fennel, radish and rhubarb into the juice.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add mackerel fillets skin-side down first to pan fry, turning over after 3 minutes to cook for a further couple of minutes. Pop the bagels under the grill just before you turn the mackerel and they'll be done bang on time.

3. Butter the bagels, pop the mackerel on top and pile on the coleslaw - Yummy!

And just in case you were wondering about forcing rhubarb... here's Jonathan Westwood, the Yorkshire farmer who forces rhubarb by candlelight before it travels to Waitrose stores nationwide.

Yorkshire farmer, Jonathan Westwood, stands amongst candle-lit rows of  rhubarb stalks, ahead their journey to Waitrose branches nationwide.

Yorkshire farmer, Jonathan Westwood, stands amongst candle-lit rows of  rhubarb stalks, ahead their journey to Waitrose branches nationwide.