Mackerel and romanesco with preserved lemon
Writing a book about greens has helped me rekindle relationships with some vegetables that I have neglected somewhat, such as this little beauty, the romanesco. It looks like the strange yet stunning lovechild of Mr Broccoli and Ms Cauliflower, but is indeed a unique Italian variety of broccoli that develops multiple compact heads that can be individually snapped off. Each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in a logarithmic spiral, and this pattern continues at several smaller levels. To retain the gorgeous green hue after blanching or steaming, be sure to shock the florets in ice cold water. Nutritionally, romanesco is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and carotenoids.
Mackerel and romanesco with preserved lemon dressing
Ingredients for the salad
85g (1/2 cup) wild rice, rinsed, soaked in fresh water overnight and cooked until tender
3 smoked mackerel fillets, skin discarded and flaked
one large handful of rocket per person
150g large green olives, pitted and halved
45g (a heaped 1/4 cup) organic raisins
1 small head of romanesco, cut into florets and lightly steamed until tender, then shocked under ice cold water (90g reserved for dressing)
Ingredients for the dressing
2 small preserved lemons, pulp discarded and peel roughly chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
90g (about 3/4 cup) cooked romanesco
125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
45ml (3 tablespoons) lemon juice
1 – 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 – 3 teaspoons raw honey
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
small bunch of dill
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
- Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Combine all the salad ingredients, season with salt and gently toss with enough dressing to coat.
Note: It is possible to enjoy wild rice – the seed of an aquatic grass and not a grain at all! – in its raw form, if you allow it to sprout (or “bloom”). Rinse the rice well, then soak in fresh water for 2 to 3 days, changing the water twice daily. You will know it is ready when most of the rice kernels have split open and are soft.