Thursday, 11 August 2011

Beetroot, Smoked Mackerel and Horseradish Salad


Good people of the internet, your insatiable interest in smoked mackerel amazes me. Until very recently, my version of Jamie Oliver's smoked mackerel pate was far and away the most popular recipe on this site - only recently ousted by Spring Vegetable Lasagne with Tuscan Tomato Salad. I thought no one liked smoked mackerel pate! I always felt a bit embarrassingly retro, making it and scoffing it and loving it! But it turns out that the world adores whipped, smoked fish, and I'm thrilled to see it. If you liked that, you'll love this.

I'm afraid this week is pretty salad-heavy in the Dine at Mine household. You see, the Roasted Mushroom, Butternut Squash and Walnut Salad kick-started my dormant enthusiasm for taking my own lunch to work, and I got on a bit of a roll. Salads are the most flexible and convenient way to use up any old vegetables and protein from the fridge, and this particular combination appeals greatly to my Polish heritage. Beetroot, horseradish and smoked fish! This is the food of my ancestors.

Anyway, this was gratifyingly healthy and very quick to put together. I adapted it loosely from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe in the Guardian which I found online, using pre-cooked beetroot instead of roasting my own. This lazy innovation meant that the only work was preparing a light dressing made with natural yoghurt, horseradish and chives, which I then dripped over the chopped beetroot, a base of salad leaves and some torn chunks of smoked mackerel. Wrangled into a tupperware, the colours tended to merge (by which I mean that the beetroot turned everything pink, the big bully) but the flavours arrived unscathed - sweet, smoky, fiery and sharp. 

This may even be my new favourite way to eat smoked mackerel - perhaps even nicer than the pate. I know, that's a bold declaration. I can feel shock waves rippling through the air at that statement. But what about you, dear readers? How do you like your smoked mackerel? Only time and Google Analytics can tell. As for me, I'll be celebrating beetroot - but hopefully next time, I won't be wearing a white dress. Let's not dwell on the end of that story.
 
Smoked Mackerel, Beetroot and Horseradish Salad
For one portion 
Salad leaves (I used baby spinach)
- 1 smoked mackerel fillet, torn into bitesize bits
- a cooked, peeled beetroot, chopped into chunks 
- 2 teaspoons of natural yoghurt
- half a teaspoon of horseradish sauce
- a tablespoonful of chopped chives
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
To make the dressing, whisk together the yoghurt, horseradish, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives and taste it so you can tweak the flavours as necessary. Then simply plonk the beetroot and mackerel on top of the salad leaves, and drizzle over the dressing. Eat, try not to spill beetroot on yourself, and enjoy.

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