When it comes to fish, nothing beats eating freshly caught sardines cooked simply on a wood-fired barbecue on the beach. As a child, fish and seafood was often on the menu but that’s hardly surprising when you have the Mediterranean sea on your doorstep. Catch of the day could be anything from tiny anchovies to crab, squid, octopus or mussels.
You took your cue from the grown ups and ate whatever was put in front of you-whether it still had tentacles, a tail or head. You soon learnt the art of chewing crispy anchovy tails so the sharp bits didn’t hurt your gums, to dig out tasty little crab morsels tucked away in all sorts of corners, to suck on clam shells which tasted of fried garlic and sea.
But the big rite of passage was learning to stay calm when a fish bone got stuck in your throat-not easy with the family all rushing to the rescue with chunks of dry bread and grandmother in the background praying loudly to her favourite saint!
Today’s recipe uses smoked mackerel which is cheap and readily available everywhere. It is inspired by Spanish “croquetas” but instead of making a flour and milk bechamel base, I opted for mash potatoes as a quicker option. It’s a great way of sneaking in Omega 3 for children of all ages!
Smoked Mackerel Croquettes
Prep to Plate: Prep: 30 mins (+ 30 mins resting time) Cooking time: 20 mins
Ingredients (feeds 4)
- 2-3 large potatoes
- large handful baby spinach (about 100 grams)
- 1 cup grated Emmental
- 2 smoked mackerel fillets
- 1 tbspn French mustard
- milk and butter
- 1 large egg
- approx 50g breadcrumbs
- plain flour
- salt and pepper
- Peel, dice and cook potatoes in a large pan.
- Whilst they’re cooking, skin and bone mackerel fillets and chop into small pieces. Ensure you have removed all bones from the fish before mixing with rest of ingredients.
- Before removing cooked potatoes from pan, add spinach to the boiling water for a few moments, enough to soften and wilt the leaves.
- Drain the potatoes and spinach and mash them together and add the cheese and mustard plus a little butter and milk to form a soft consistency. Add a little salt and pepper.
- Allow to rest in fridge for about 20-30 minutes. This will enable the mixture to become firmer, enabling you to mould it into croquette shapes later.
- Beat egg and place in a shallow bowl with breadcrumbs in a plate next to it.
- Make croquette shapes from the mash and fish mixture.
- Then gently roll each croquette first in the flour, then the beaten egg, before rolling in breadcrumbs.
- Fry in oil or cook in oven until breadcrumbs have browned.
Serve with a simple fresh salad and enjoy!