I delved back into my draft dishes, and found a post for picked fennel and crab croquettes from the deepest, darkest days of lockdown.
Goodness knows what my mind state was at the time, but likening lockdown to being submerged in a salty brine for the introduction probably paints an accurate picture.
That proverbial salty brine no longer exists, but there’s no reason why the pickled ribbons of fennel can’t have their time in the limelight.
In what is a simpler dish this time, I’ve paired together mackerel, pickled fennel and a crab & n’duja mayonnaise.
Medium fennel bulb (stalks removed, very thinly sliced) x 1
Salt x 1 tsp
Sugar x 1 tsp
Pickling spices x 2 tsp
White wine vinegar x 150ml
Water x 150ml
Crab & N’duja mayonnaise:
Egg yolks x 2
Cooked crab meat x 50g
N’duja sausage meat x 50g
Vegetable or rapeseed oil x 320ml
White wine vinegar x 25ml
Mackerel fillets x 4
Dill to serve
A glass jar with a tight lid is perfect for this, one which holds at least 300ml. You can use Tupperware too, if you are short of glass jars.
Simply bring the mix of water, vinegar, pickling spices, sugar and salt to the boil. Pop the fennel ribbons into your container, and pour over the warm liquid. Leave at room temp until cooled. Then place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
If you want to make more, just double the quantities for a 600ml container etc.
Crab & n’duja mayonnaise
Start by breaking up the n’duja sausage meat and frying gently in a dry pan over a medium heat for just five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl blitz together the egg yolks, vinegar, crab meat and n’duja meat until completely combined and silky smooth.
In the same bowl begin whisking at a low speed, whilst very slowly adding the oil. Increase the whisking speed gently up to max, until you have a thick creamy mayonnaise.
Rub the mackerel fillets liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry on the skin side over a medium heat for eight minutes, in a knob of butter, before flipping over and cooking for a further two minutes.
Allow the fish to rest for five minutes.
Serve the mackerel with the pickled fennel and a generous spoonful of the mayonnaise.