Smoked mackerel kedgeree

This came about because I was looking for a quick, comforting supper and found I had a few smoked mackerel fillets and a portion of cooked rice in the fridge. I am now planning to cook it again from scratch – it was so easy to make, cheaper than using smoked haddock (which I normally use for kedgeree), and mackerel is one of those fish we’re all urged to eat more often as oily fish is so good for you. I often have cooked rice to be eaten up (note these important guidelines on serving rice safely), but even if you are cooking the rice from scratch you can have this on the table within half an hour.

Smoked mackerel kedgereeI normally include a hard-boiled egg in kedgeree, and I think it would be good here too, but as you can see, I didn’t get around to it this time. Well, it was cold, I was hungry, what can I say? And, yes, that is kale mixed in – most unorthodox, but I didn’t have any parsley and thought that some additional greens would be good – and they were! I also sometimes include peas, so take your pick as to which greens you fancy (or have to hand). Quantities are for one, but you know your own appetite better than me, so do adjust accordingly.

1 small onion or 3 spring onions
knob of butter
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 egg
150g cooked basmati rice (but see below)
2 boneless fillets of smoked mackerel (about 100g)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 lemon
2 tbsps cream
60g frozen peas (optional)
handful of parsley or kale

If you’re starting from scratch use 60g of white or 75g of wholegrain basmati, and put that on first – instructions on cooking rice here. Wholegrain rice tastes great in this recipe but will take about 10 minutes longer too cook.

Roughly chop the onion(s), heat the butter in a medium frying pan, and cook the onion gently until it is soft but not browned, adding the turmeric after a few minutes. Heat a small pan of water, prick the bottom of the egg, and boil it gently for 8 minutes (which should give you a just set yolk).

Take off any skin from the smoked mackerel fillets, check for bones and flake into fork-sized pieces. When the onion is cooked stir in the rice, with a little more butter if necessary, and add the smoked mackerel and garam masala (you could use mild curry powder instead, in which case add it to the onions with the turmeric). Cut a small wedge of lemon and put it aside. Squeeze the rest of the lemon over the pan. Season to taste with coarsely-ground black pepper and cook until the rice is piping hot. If using peas or kale, cook them for 3-4 minutes until tender in boiling water (or you can steam the kale in a steamer over the egg) before stirring into the pan too.

When the egg is ready, run under cold water, shell it and cut into quarters. Chop the parsley. Once the kedgeree is hot, stir in the cream (I used double cream, but single or crème fraîche would be just fine), spoon onto your plate, and top with the egg and parsley. Serve with the wedge of lemon to squeeze over.

I had a bowl of orange segments afterwards, which were refreshing after the rich taste of the mackerel. A couple of years ago I went on a knife-skills course and one of the most useful things I learned was how to segment an orange properly, with no trace of pith or pips – very satisfying.

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