Mackerel, vanilla, gooseberry, horseradish, lovage

Mackerel, vanilla, gooseberry, horseradish, lovage

This dish by Chef Gabriel Waterhouse layers acidity beautifully - cured mackerel is paired with vanilla-scented pickled gooseberries, a yoghurt and lovage emulsion and horseradish cream.
  • Cooking:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    For the pickled gooseberries, first clean the gooseberries by topping and tailing them. If gooseberries aren’t in season you can use frozen
  2. Step 2

    In a saucepan measure the sugar, vinegar, water and split vanilla pod and bring to a boil, then pour the hot pickle over the gooseberries and leave to cool at room temperature
  3. Step 3

    Store in the fridge until needed. (NB: the gooseberries are best after several days, or when cut in half to allow the pickle to penetrate the insides)
  4. Step 4

    To make the cured mackerel, start by removing the fillets from the fish and cutting each fillet in half lengthways
  5. Step 5

    Make the brine by dissolving 30g salt in 500ml of cold water, soaking the mackerel fillets in it. Leave to brine for 30 minutes then drain
  6. Step 6

    Make the cure by blending the fennel and coriander seeds then measuring the salt, sugar and lemon zest and mixing together in a bowl
  7. Step 7

    Cover the mackerel fillets in the cure and leave for 20 minutes at room temperature
  8. Step 8

    Wash the cure off with cold water and leave to drain. Place the mackerel skin side up onto an oiled baking tray and leave uncovered in the fridge to dry for several hours
  9. Step 9

    For the horseradish sauce, weigh the cream, creamed horseradish and grated horseradish into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer
  10. Step 10

    Remove from the heat and cover with a lid and leave to infuse for 1 hour
  11. Step 11

    Once cool, warm gently once more to a simmer and add the lemon juice. Pass through a fine sieve pushing the cream through using the back of a spoon or ladle
  12. Step 12

    To make the pickled gooseberry gel, strain the pickling liquid from the gooseberries and measure 250ml into a saucepan
  13. Step 13

    Add to this the agar agar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes before pouring into a container
  14. Step 14

    Cool at room temperature before placing in the fridge for several hours to set
  15. Step 15

    When set, blend to a smooth gel. You can use any remaining pickling liquid to let down the gel if needed to achieve the right consistency
  16. Step 16

    To make the lovage oil, first blanch the lovage leaves in heavily salted boiling water for 30 seconds
  17. Step 17

    Chill under a cold running tap or icy water
  18. Step 18

    Once chilled, squeeze away any excess water
  19. Step 19

    Place the lovage and oil into a jug blender with a lid fitted loosely to allow any steam to escape
  20. Step 20

    Blend the lovage and oil on high speed for several minutes. The herb oil might warm up slightly and produce some steam and the lovage should begin to split from the oil
  21. Step 21

    Set a piece of muslin cloth or a fine tea towel over a sieve and pass the mixture, collecting the oil in a receptacle below. Discard the pulp and store the oil in the fridge until needed. 
  22. Step 22

    To make the lovage emulsion, first whisk together the egg, mustard, white wine vinegar, salt and lemon juice
  23. Step 23

    Set aside a few spoonfuls of the cooled lovage oil for finishing the dish. Whisk the remaining lovage oil into the egg mixture drop by drop until it begins to thicken and emulsify, then very slowly pour in the rest of the oil
  24. Step 24

    Once the oil and egg mixture are emulsified, stir in the yoghurt. Store in the fridge until needed
  25. Step 25

    Once ready to serve, remove the fish from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it to allow it to come up to room temperature
  26. Step 26

    Set your oven to 200°C and warm your serving bowls
  27. Step 27

    Place the mackerel on an oven tray. Using a blow torch, char the fish skin until blackened.
  28. Step 28

    Cook the mackerel in the oven for 2 minutes - the fish will cook very quickly, and it is better to undershoot it than overshoot it. When served it should still have a jelly-like texture
  29. Step 29

    Spoon in the lovage emulsion, pickled gooseberries and gooseberry gel into the warmed bowls and pour in the horseradish sauce. Finish with the fish resting on the top with a few drops of lovage oil over the fish to split the cream and garnish with the bronzed fennel and nasturtium leaves