When we’ve been eating out more than usual, cravings for plain simple food, preferably home-cooked, take over. That happened last weekend and it was fish we wanted. And so it was off to our local fishmonger in the morning to see what was available and good. I’d originally wanted bream but when I saw the mackerel, I knew what I wanted to do with it. Two mackerel please, filleted.

At home, I set some rice cooking and started making a chayote and carrot salad with a Thai-inspired dressing. I then mixed together the ingredients for a glaze for the fish, which I fried very simply with just a little salt. The glaze was then simmered together until it thickened. By this time, the rice was cooked so in our bowls went rice, a fried fish fillet on top, some of the salad next to it, and the glaze served in a small bowl alongside.

Mackerel with a Soy-Honey Glaze

This was just what we needed – simple food and as a bonus, it’s all put together very quickly. And what a great combination it was too – the ginger in the glaze went very well with the strong flavours of the mackerel and the mackerel, though cooked so simply, was moist and tender with a very crispy skin. The salad was refreshing and it turns out that chayote is a pretty good substitute for green papaya!

Mackerel with a Soy-Honey Glaze

Mackerel Fillets with Soy-Honey Glaze
serves 2.

4 mackerel fillets (from 2 fish)
1 tsp sunflower oil

For the glaze
3 heaping tsps honey
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp grated ginger

Combine the glaze ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and then add the teaspoonful of oil. Use some kitchen paper to dry the fillets as best possible and then slide them skin side down into the pan (I did two at a time). Cook for 3 minutes without moving them. Sprinkle the tops with some salt and then flip the fillets and continue cooking for another 3 minutes without moving. Plate or set aside.

Pour out any excess oil and wipe down the pan if possible. Place it back over the heat and then pour in the glaze ingredients. Bubble away until reduced by half and then either pour into a bowl for serving or drizzle onto the fish if it’s being served immediately.

Chayote and Carrot Salad
serves 2 as a side.

1 chayote
1 medium carrot
a few sprigs of coriander

For the dressing
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chili-garlic paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp warm water

Peel both the chayote and the carrot. Shred or grate both into a bowl (leave the middle of the chayote – there’s a seed, I think). Stir together the dressing ingredients and add as much as you please to the salad. Chop the coriander roughly, add to the bowl and toss together. Serve.