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Seasonal Menu - Mackerel, fennel, rhubarb - Porthminster Beach Cafe

Posted on 15th June 2012 by ewwwebdev There have been 0 comments

Fresh mackerel, caught just hours previously in St Ives bay, is a consistent star of the menu at Porthminster Beach Cafe. Throughout the year the dish will change with the seasons, reflecting the local produce and often the foraged ingredients available to the team in the kitchen.

Sustainable fishing is high on the agenda for Michael Smith and his fellow chefs. "As the fastest reproducing fish in the ocean, mackerel is the most sustainable fish you can eat," explains Michael, "as well as being cheap and very good for you.  At its best when just caught, don’t serve mackerel if it’s two or three days old."

The sweet and sour character of the rhubarb counteract the oiliness of the mackerel in this dish, and the citrus notes of wood sorrel in the salad provide a great contrast.


4 large mackerel or 8 joeys(small mackerel), skin on and scaled

2tbsp of olive oil

Salt & pepper

Fennel pure

1 bulbs of fennel finely sliced

2 tbsp butter

1 small shallot finely sliced

50ml single cream


White pepper


1tbsp sumac

1 lemon

12 sprigs of wood sorrel

8 sprigs wild sorrel or spinach if not available

100g of endive

2tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Sweat and sour Rhubarb chutney

30g jam or caster sugar

1tsp of white wine vinegar

1/2tsp salt

25ml grenadine

200gms diced rhubarb



For the fennel puree-

Sweat the fennel in the butter with the shallots until very soft. Blitz till smooth and finish with the cream, salt and white pepper and set aside.

For the rhubarb chutney-

Bring the sugar, grenadine and white wine vinegar to the boil, add the rhubarb and cook for about 3 minutes - it still needs to have some firmness. Add salt to taste.

For the salad-

Get yourself a jar or cup, add the lemon juice, sumac and olive oil and give it a good mix before seasoning season. Assemble the leaves in a bowl and set aside ready to plate and dress later.

For the mackerel -

Place a large frying pan on a medium heat with the oil. Season the mackerel fillets. When the oil is hot place the fillets skin side down, cook for three minutes then flip and cook for a further one to two minutes.

Dress the salad and plate up everything together.


Wine Matches

A good Verdejo from Rueda should work well here, having both the acidity to contrast the oily fish and the complexity to stand up to some quite strong flavours, including fennel. Martinsancho lovingly cultivates 40 year-old vines, which draw minerality from deep within the soil. On the nose enjoy the scents of sweet pea, fresh lime, grapefruit, anise, herbs and white flowers, whilst on the palate vibrant citrus flavours are complicated by thyme, liquorice and white pepper. You could also try our Godello: green-tinted, with a full nose of pear and herbs. This is soft and complex, with citrus and some floral notes backed by a pronounced minerality.

Michael is releasing his first book shortly, featuring more recipes from the Porthminster kitchen. We'll keep you posted!


This post was posted in Great Places, Seasonal Menu Matching, Spring

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