Mackerel on red pepper marmalade tart with smoked paprika mayonnaise

Mackerel on red pepper marmalade tart with smoked paprika mayonnaise

British Seafood
David Loftus

This dish was so popular on our menu that I decided to take it off, because we didn’t sell anything else! Instead I turned it into a little snack to offer guests with drinks as they arrived, and everyone was happy. The oily mackerel and red pepper work brilliantly together and the paprika lends a smoky, spicy note.


Quantity Ingredient
2 large mackerel, filleted, trimmed and pin-boned
or 4 small mackerel, filleted, trimmed and pin-boned

Red pepper marmalade tarts

Quantity Ingredient
6 red peppers
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
100ml balsamic vinegar
50ml red wine vinegar
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped
olive oil, for cooking
100g caster sugar
200g good-quality ready-made puff pastry
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Smoked paprika mayonnaise

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg yolks
1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
200ml Smoked paprika oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
16 Pickled onions, drained and halved, see baby onions in red wine variation
100g mixed salad leaves


  1. Heat your oven to 200°C. For the red pepper marmalade, roast the red peppers on a roasting tray for 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool; the trapped steam will help to lift the skins. Meanwhile, put the red onions, garlic, both vinegars and the thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer. Let bubble over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced right down, almost to nothing; don’t let the onions burn. Turn the oven down to 180°C.
  2. Peel the skins from the peppers, then halve, core, deseed and slice them thinly. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a drizzle of oil and the peppers and sugar. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the red onion mixture and cook until the juice has reduced right down, almost to nothing. Taste and season the marmalade, then allow to cool and chill.
  3. For the smoked paprika mayonnaise, put the egg yolks and lemon zest and juice into a bowl and whisk together for 1 minute. Add the oil, drop by drop to begin with, then in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until the mixture is emulsified and thick. Season with a little salt. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and prick all over with a fork. Cut out four 5 cm circles and place on a lined baking sheet. Spread the red pepper marmalade evenly over the pastry circles, but not too thickly. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the tarts over carefully and bake for a further 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. To cook the mackerel, oil a non-stick frying pan and place the fish, skin side down, in the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until the skin is crispy, then flip over and remove from the heat; the fish will finish cooking in the residual heat.
  6. To serve, add the pickled baby onions to the mackerel pan to warm through. Put a blob of paprika mayonnaise in the middle of each serving plate and place a red pepper tart on top. Arrange a few mixed leaves and the pickled onion halves on each plate, adding a few blobs of paprika mayonnaise. Lay the mackerel fillets on the tart and drizzle over any juices from the pan.
British Seafood
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