About this recipe:Tart, tangy rhubarb and orange sauce complements the rich flesh of mackerel wonderfully.
4 mackerel, about 200g each, cleaned, boned and heads removed
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
300g rhubarb, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp shredless orange jelly marmalade
salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:25min › Ready in:40min
Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas 5). Thinly pare about half the zest from the orange. Squeeze out the juice.
Season the cavity of the fish with salt and pepper, then place a sprig of thyme inside each. Make 3–4 slashes on each side of the fish, then place on a foil-lined ovenproof dish or baking tray.
Mix the oil with 1 tbsp of the orange juice and brush over the fish. Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the flesh will flake easily.
Meanwhile, put the remaining orange juice in a saucepan with the sugar and pared orange zest and gently heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rhubarb, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer for 10 minutes or until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Stir occasionally to prevent the rhubarb sticking to the pan.
Rub the rhubarb through a sieve or purée in a blender or processor until smooth. Return the purée to the cleaned out saucepan, add the marmalade and season with salt and pepper. Reheat until the marmalade has melted, then taste. It should have a pleasant, slightly sharp flavour but if too acidic, add a little more sugar
Transfer the fish to warmed dinner plates and spoon over a little of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce in a sauceboat or jug.
Fresh rhubarb has a relatively short season, so is worth buying while it is at its cheapest and freezing for future use (see page 20). Use for pies and crumbles. * Forced rhubarb is available in early spring and main crop a little later. It's easy to grow, too.