Paul’s comments: “I did a version of this recipe on Saturday Kitchen in 2017 just after we opened. Customers at Salt went mad for the dish – they couldn’t get enough. The technique used to remove the skin is really interesting, it is an Asian method that removes the thin tough membrane on the skin so the whole thing can be eaten cured without cooking the skin side.”

Serves 4


For the Mackerel

  • 2 whole line-caught mackerel
  • 200ml rice vinegar
  • 50ml rapeseed oil
  • sea salt

For the Tomatoes

  • 16 cherry vine tomatoes
  • 4 mixed heritage tomatoes
  • 200g salted butter
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs pine
  • 1 lemon
  • 50ml rapeseed oil

For the Wild Rice

  • wild rice
  • oil
  • sea salt

To Finish

  • 30g wild salty fingers, picked and washed


For the Mackerel

  1. Gut, fillet and clean the mackerel leaving the pin bones in for now.
  2. Sprinkle the flesh side of the fish with sea salt and leave to semi-cure in the fridge for 3 hours.
  3. Pour the rice vinegar onto a tray so it is around 5mm deep and place the mackerel in skin side down and leave for 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the mackerel over in the vinegar for 1 minute and then back on to the skin side for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove the mackerel and make a small cut at the tail end. Slide your finger underneath the membrane on the skin and it should pull off in one piece

For the Tomatoes

  1. Slice the heritage tomatoes into 5mm slices and wedges.
  2. Lay on a metal tray and blowtorch until lightly charred.
  3. Season with sea salt and grate over the lemon zest using a fine microplane.
  4. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a small drizzle of rapeseed oil.
  5. Blanch the cherry tomatoes, then peel them and place into a pan with the butter, thyme and pine.
  6. Melt very gently ensuring that the butter doesn’t get past 60°C.
  7. Leave for 15 minutes for the tomatoes to absorb up some of the butter.

For the Wild rice

  1. Heat the oil to 210°C and then add the rice.
  2. As soon as they have all popped open, drain through a sieve and place onto kitchen paper.
  3. Season with sea salt and allow to cool.
  4. When cool, keep in an airtight container until needed.

To Finish

  1. Cut the fish either side of the bones all the way through to remove the pin bones in one strip.
  2. Place the fillets back together and dress with a little rapeseed oil then season with sea salt.
  3. Check the seasoning and arrange the torched tomatoes on the mackerel.
  4. Drain the butter-poached cherry tomatoes and place in among the others.
  5. Finish with the salty fingers and crispy rice.


Recipe Courtesy of Paul Foster of Michelin-starred Salt in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Paul Foster Chef Feature.