Chilled tomato soup with bread salad and roasted blue mackerel

Chilled tomato soup with bread salad and roasted blue mackerel

William Meppem


Quantity Ingredient
500ml Gazpacho, with 10 extra tomatoes


Quantity Ingredient
1 small ciabatta bread loaf
1 garlic clove, grated
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
100g rosemary, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar

Bread salad

Quantity Ingredient
400g heirloom or vine-ripened, grape or cherry tomatoes
pinch salt
2 green chillies, deseeded and julienned
100ml french dressing
1 yellow capsicum
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
1 medium lebanese cucumber, peeled
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
8 white anchovy fillets
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
100g pitted black kalamata olives
1 bunch red radishes, topped, tailed, and quartered
3 tablespoons lilliput capers, rinsed
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1/2 bunch basil, leaves torn


Quantity Ingredient
4 pin-boned blue mackerel fillets
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
additional extra-virgin olive oil
4 good-quality anchovy fillets
flat-leaf parsley and basil leaves, shredded, to garnish


  1. Prepare the gazpacho, with the extra tomatoes, 24 hours prior to the remainder of the dish. Keep refrigerated until required.
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  3. Cut the ciabatta loaf lengthwise with a serrated knife into long, 1 cm thick strips. Cut each strip into smallish dice of roughly 1 cm. Combine the garlic, olive oil and rosemary. Toss the diced bread in the olive oil mixture, season well and drizzle with vinegar. Drain off any excess oil and spread the bread evenly on a baking tray. Bake for 15–20 minutes until brown and crisp, turning occasionally. Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels. Drizzle with a little more vinegar and season to taste. Store at room temperature until required.
  4. Cut the heirloom tomatoes into neat bite-sized pieces, varying shapes with the different varieties you use. Mix the tomatoes with a pinch of salt, the chillies and about half the French dressing. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
  5. Place the capsicums over a flame or on a barbecue to char the skins; quickly turn them as they blister. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will cause the capsicums to sweat, which will make them easier to peel. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. When the capsicums are cool, fill a bowl with cold water and dip each roasted capsicum into it, scraping off the skin with a small, sharp knife as you rinse them. Cut each capsicum in half, then remove the stalk and seeds and cut each half into 6 neat slices.
  7. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice into long thin ribbons, 2 mm thick. Combine all the salad ingredients with the tomatoes except the herbs – leave those until last so the herbs don’t discolour.
  8. With a sharp knife make many thin incisions along the skin of each mackerel fillet – not too deep, just slashing the surface of the skin. (The hot oil can then penetrate the surface as the fish cooks for a crisper finish.) Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat, season the fish fillets and cook skin-side down. Apply a little pressure to each fillet so it remains flat in the pan. Cook skin-side down, for 2 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for just 10 seconds.
  9. Remove the fish from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Add the herbs and croutons to the salad with the remainder of the French dressing. Toss the salad and arrange a neat mound in each serving bowl. Pour the cold gazpacho around the salad and drizzle with additional olive oil. Place the warm, crisp fish fillets on top of the salad, arrange an anchovy fillet on each one, scatter a few herbs over the top, and serve.

Chef’s note

  • This soup is also delicious as a light main course, served with Spanish mackerel, seared tuna or swordfish steaks.
high end
fine dining
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