I think it must be that time of year. The time of year when people tend to have too much of something and – if you’re lucky – your neighbours come knocking on your door, asking whether you’d like some rhubarb, or runner beans.
The best part about this particular year, though, is that we’ve found ourselves able to join the “Glut Club” and have had the benefit of Frank the Fisherman’s bounty of mackerel, whilst being able to reply in kind and sent him happily off with a pile of rhubarb.
We’ve never been able to do that before – and it’s remarkably satisfying. For sure, we’ve taken pots of lemon curd around to friends’ houses, made ginger cakes and knitted warm scarves for other friends’ birthday presents. However, it’s not the same as being able to reciprocate with something you’ve grown yourself.
The mackerel was simply marvellous. There we were, sitting chatting in the garden one evening, when from next door we heard Frank call out “want some mackerel?”. You bet we wanted some mackerel!
So, over the garden hedge came five fresh mackerel (which were adeptly caught and juggled into the kitchen by Son & heir – which is no mean feat with five wobbly fresh fish) which had been swimming around in the sea not an hour before.
Of course, they had to go back to Frank to be gutted but he was good enough to give me a master class in unzipping the little lovelies. So I’ll be good to go if some more manage to swim over the garden hedge.
We put them on ice in the fridge and ate them for lunch the following day. I pan-fried five fillets in a mixture of butter and olive oil and put the remaining five en papillote (or in a silver foil envelope) in the oven with a slice of lemon and olive oil.
We ate them with some lovely crusty French bread and fresh butter whilst feeling quite bohemian – and considered ourselves to be extremely lucky.