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Recipe: Griddled lemon- and pepper-crusted mackerel fillets with marinated giant couscous

PUBLISHED: 14:27 18 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:27 18 August 2016

Griddled lemon- and pepper-crusted mackerel fillets with marinated giant couscous

Griddled lemon- and pepper-crusted mackerel fillets with marinated giant couscous


This versatile recipe celebrates summer’s swansong. It works with all oily fish and the salad can be enjoyed warm or chilled, cooked on a smoking barbecue or indoors on a hob-top char-grill pan.

We enjoy this with a chunky spicy wood-fired ratatouille and a fresh fennel, carrot, red onion, chilli and orange ‘slaw.


200g giant ptilim couscous

650ml good stock, simmering

Peppermill (the rainbow blend of mixed peppercorns and allspice works well)

Sea salt

Large pinch of fresh thyme sprigs

Zest of 1 lemon

Few garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Fillets from 4 flapping-fresh mackerel or other oily fish, descaled

Good rapeseed or olive oil

Handful flat leaf parsley

Few large sprigs of mint, leaves only

Zatar spice blend

Herbs for garnish


Start with the couscous. To a generously-oiled hot frying pan, toast the grains for 4 – 5 minutes by moving them around over a medium-high heat until golden.

Carefully pour in the hot stock and add a little seasoning, the thyme, half of the zest, and garlic, before simmering for approx. 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender (topping up with a little boiling water if it sticks).

Transfer to a bowl (sieving if liquid remains) and set aside.

Take the fish, lightly slash the skin of each fillet a few times, and rub in salt, lots of coarse pepper and remaining lemon zest. Lightly season the meat side too.

Heat up the barbecue or chargrill pan until smoking and griddle the fillets for a few minutes on each side until cooked and nicely-charred.

Fold the shredded parsley and mint into the couscous, and make a bed of it on warm plates, before sprinkling generously with zatar.

Top with a couple of the fillets and garnish with more green herbs and a swirl of oil.


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