Ready, sweet tomatoes and a garlicky slammed aubergine purée make this an incredible summer’s night dish
Mackerel must be my preferred fish for cooking outside over an open fire. Its skin crisps flawlessly while underneath the slick substance remains sodden and delicate. The fresher the mackerel, the more sensitive and heavenly its flavor will be, so select fish with decent brilliant eyes and energetic, bright skin.
4 good-sized, super-fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs of rosemary
250g large, ripe tomatoes, halved
2 medium aubergines
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
A handful of basil leaves, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your fire; you want to be cooking over glowing embers. When the fire is hot, set a grill over it, making sure it’s clean so your fish is less likely to stick to the bars. You’ll know the temperature is right when you can hover your hand above the grill for a maximum of 3 seconds.
Lay the fish on a board and, using a sharp knife, cut several shallow slash marks on both sides. Trickle 1 tbsp olive oil over the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub in, getting right into the slash marks. Place a couple of rosemary sprigs in each fish cavity. Set the fish on the grill. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place, cut side up, next to the fish. Place the aubergines (uncut) on the grill too.
Turn the aubergines every few minutes, to ensure they cook evenly. The fish will take 6–8 minutes on each side, depending on size. Don’t worry if the skin tears; the fish will still taste amazing. Once the mackerel are cooked, remove them from the grill and keep warm. Turn the tomatoes after 10–15 minutes and keep cooking them until they are soft and caramelised, then remove them to a plate.
When the aubergines are soft (this will take about 20 minutes), slit open and scoop the soft flesh out into a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, chilli flakes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix and mash the aubergine with the seasonings.
Divide the aubergine purée between 4 plates. Add the tomatoes and fish and serve.