Giorgio Locatelli's chargrilled mackerel with herb crust
Mackerel is a fantastic but underrated fish, which is brilliant cooked inside a crispy herb crust that protects the fish, keeping it moist and trapping in all the delicate flavours. You can do this with mackerel fillets, too, in the same way, but leave out the stuffing and cook the fillets, skin side first, for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness, then turn over for a further 2-3 minutes.
tomatoes 4, diced
olive oil 100ml
white onions 4, cut into about 2cm dice
white wine vinegar 3 tbsp
salted capers (preferably baby ones) 4 tbsp, rinsed
medium-sized mackerel 4, gutted
rosemary 4 sprigs
garlic 4 cloves
mixed salad leaves 4 handfuls
Giorgio's vinaigrette 4 tbsp (see below)
For the herb crust
parsley a small bunch, picked
rosemary a small bunch, picked
basil a bunch, picked
olive oil 3 tbsp
For Giorgio's vinaigrette (makes 375ml)
sea salt ½ tsp
red wine vinegar 3 tbsp
extra virgin olive oil 300ml
water 2 tbsp
Blanch the tomatoes, skin, quarter and deseed, then cut into 2cm dice.
Get a griddle pan or barbecue smoking hot.
To make the herb crust, put the herbs into a food processor with the breadcrumbs and a little of the olive oil, and whiz. Then slowly add the rest of the oil until you have quite an oily paste. Transfer to a large tray or plate.
Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a pan, add the onions, cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until they become translucent, but not coloured. Add the vinegar and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the capers and set aside.
Season the mackerel lightly inside and stuff each one with rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves (crush them lightly first). Season the outside of the fish. Brush another 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil over the fish, then roll it in the herb and breadcrumb mixture, making sure it clings well.
You should be able to cook 4 fish at the same time. Place them on the hot griddle pan or barbecue and cook for about 4-5 minutes on one side (depending on the size), but make sure they don't burn (turn down the heat if necessary). Turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
While the fish is cooking, put the salad leaves in a bowl, season and toss with the vinaigrette (see below).
Put the pan with the onions back on the heat to warm through. Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Stir in the diced tomato.
Divide this mixture between 4 plates and arrange the salad at one side of it. Lay the fish on top of the onions and drizzle over the remaining olive oil.
To make the vinaigrette, put the salt into a bowl, then add the vinegar and leave for a minute so the salt dissolves. Whisk in the olive oil and the water until the vinaigrette emulsifies and thickens.
Pour into a bottle, seal and store in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 6 months. It will separate out, so before you use it just shake the bottle.
Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli (4th Estate, RRP £26). To order a copy for £17 with free UK p&p, click here
★ Wine match (all wine matches by David Williams)
Poggio Argentiera Vermentino, IGT Toscana, Italy 2012 (£9.99, or £7.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic)
From Maremma on the coast of southern Tuscany, this textbook vermentino has the lemony zip to cut through the oily fish, as well as a subtle dose of herbs to go with the crust.
Nigel Slater's apricot couscous salad
For the couscous
giant couscous 150g
hot vegetable stock (water at a push) about 300ml
butter a thick slice
green cardamom pods 5
garlic a clove
lemon juice and finely grated zest of 1
ripe apricots 250g
harissa paste 2 tsp
olive oil 2 tbsp, plus a little extra
parsley a small bunch
To prepare the couscous, bring the stock or water to the boil in a good-sized saucepan, then pour in the couscous. Bring back to the boil then salt the liquid generously, as you might for pasta.
Simmer for 9-10 minutes until tender but still with a bit of bite. Drain in a colander and run cold water through it to cool it quickly. Tip into a bowl and toss gently with a few drops of olive oil to stop it sticking together.
While the couscous is cooking, make the apricot seasoning. Peel the onions, dice finely and cook in butter with lightly crushed cardamom pods, till soft and pale. Peel and slice the garlic and stir into the onion. Add the lemon zest. Halve and stone the apricots, add to the onions and set aside.
Stir the warm apricot mixture into the cooling couscous. Stir in the lemon juice. Put the harissa paste in a small bowl, stir in the 2 tablespoons olive oil then fold gently into the apricots and couscous. Remove the leaves from the parsley, roughly chop them then fold into the couscous.
★ Wine match
Ixsir Grand Reserve White, Batroun, Lebanon 2011 (£20, Great Western Wines)
As multi-layered as the dish, it has gorgeous notes of juicy ripe peach .
Gwyneth Paltrow's marinated gigante bean salad with grilled prawns and watercress
The giant beans are a delight, and kids think they are out of a fairy tale. The marinating time is key, so make sure you leave time to let it sit.
SERVES 4 AS A FIRST COURSE
la granja beans 700g jar or butter beans 2 x 410g cans, rinsed and drained
clove garlic 1 large, peeled and very thinly sliced
spring onions 3, thinly sliced
highest-quality olive oil 2 tbsp
large prawns 16 (about 450g), peeled and de-veined
extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
watercress 2 bunches, cleaned
lemon 1, halved
Combine the beans, garlic and spring onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a few grinds of pepper and a large pinch of salt. Drizzle your best olive oil over everything and stir to combine, being careful not to crush the beans. Let the beans rest in the refrigerator, covered, for at least an hour (preferably a few). When you're ready to eat, coat the prawns with the extra virgin olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Barbecue over a high heat for about 1½ minutes a side, or until firm to the touch and just coloured.
To serve, distribute the watercress, beans and warm prawns on four plates, squeezing a generous amount of lemon over each. If you don't have a barbecue, heat a cast-iron pan under the grill and then grill the prawns in the smoking hot pan.
Notes from my Kitchen Table by Gwyneth Paltrow (Macmillan, RRP £20). To order a copy for £15.99, click here
★ Wine match
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain 2012 (£7.99)
Spain's most seafood-friendly white wines are from Galicia, and Rias Baixas , where the albariño grape delivers fleshy apricot with a subtle marine freshness.
Mitch Tonks's grilled squid with gremolata
small squid 7 or 8 weighing about 80-100g each (ask you fishmonger to clean them)
breadcrumbs small handful
garlic 2 cloves
curly parsley a handful
lemons zest of 2, and a little juice
orange zest 1
mild green chilli 1, seeds removed
Brush the squid with olive oil, season with salt then lightly sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Put the garlic, parsley, lemon and orange zest and chilli on a board and chop until fine.
Grill the squid over a fire, under a grill or on a preheated grill plate for 6-7 minutes until charred and cooked. Place on a serving plate and dress with olive oil and a little lemon juice then sprinkle the gremolata over the top.
★ Wine match
Tinpot Hut The Paddler Grüner Veltliner, Marlborough, New Zealand 2012 (from £14.30, cambridgewine.com)
This Kiwi take on the Austrian grape variety grüner veltliner has an orange and lime bite to go with its orchard fruit.
Thomasina Miers's falling off the bone lamb
The lamb is cooked long and slow and is so tender you could cut with a spoon.
rolled shoulder of lamb 1, about 2kg
olive oil 2 tbsp
shallots 8, peeled
carrots 6, peeled and chopped
celery 3 sticks, chopped
garlic 4 cloves, halved
rosemary a few sprigs
bay leaves 5
fennel seeds 1 tbsp
cinnamon stick 1
tomatoes 4, deseeded and cut into eighths
chile de arbol, or other dried red chillies 2, crumbled
chicken or lamb stock 300ml
white wine or Madeira 200ml
green olives 250g
Brown the lamb thoroughly in the butter and olive oil in a deep heavy casserole dish. Set aside and cook all the vegetables apart from the tomatoes in the oil until softened slightly. Add the herbs, spices, tomatoes and chillies. Stir to mix, season to taste and add the stock and wine. Put the lamb back in the casserole and bring liquid to the boil. Cover and put in a slow oven, 90C/gas mark ¼, for 8 or 9 hours.
Remove the lamb and put to rest on a carving dish. Strain off the liquid and skim off as much fat as possible - this stock will make the basis of a fine soup.
Serve the lamb and vegetables with rice or floury potatoes.
I like to serve with a Greek salad made with black olives, feta, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and plenty of freshly chopped marjoram and some yoghurt flavoured with cucumber and mint. The leftovers are great stuffed into toasted pitta breads with tzatziki, radishes, lettuce and spring onions.
★ Wine match
Thomopoulos Earth & Sky, Naoussa, Greece, 2009 (£19.95, The Wine Society)
A powerful but aromatic Greek red with a dose of firm tannin to tussle with the fat of the lamb.
Giorgio Locatelli's chargrilled mackerel with herb crust. Photograph: Jean Cazals for the Observer