Watercress-stuffed mackerel on new potatoes and fennel

This bright, zesty, deeply flavoured dish is perfect for a summer lunch or supper.


Servings: 4 


40g watercress, any tough stems discarded

2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

leaves from 6 sprigs of tarragon


4 fresh mackerel, gutted, with heads & tails on or off as you prefer

750g new potatoes, washed but not peeled

2 fennel bulbs

100ml olive oil + 2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1 orange, quartered

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp runny honey

16-20 pitted black olives

4 handfuls of salad leaves


Preheat the oven to 200C. 


Finely chop the watercress with the capers and tarragon leaves. Season, give it a squeeze of lemon and then use to stuff the middle of each mackerel. Set the fish aside.


Cut the potatoes into halves or thirds depending on their size. Top and tail the fennel bulbs, remove the outside layer if it looks damaged, and then slice into rounds approximately 5mm thick. Put the new potato and fennel into a large bowl with the 100ml of olive oil, cider vinegar, orange quarters and bay leaves. Season well and use your hands to mix it all around.  Tip into a large baking dish and put into the oven.  


After 25 mins give it a stir round and drizzle over the honey. Return the dish to the oven for 20 mins or until the potatoes are tender and browned. Rub the mackerel on both sides with the remaining olive oil and then sit the fish on top of the potato mixture. Roast for 20 mins, throw in the olives, and return to the oven for 5 mins. 


Serve on top of the leaves and with the orange quarters so that their roasted juices can be squeezed over for a burst of sweetness and freshness on the plate.

(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)

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