James Street South Cookery School: Grilled mackerel and roasted peppers

Niall McKenna's grilled mackerel with green sauce

AS I write this, I am enjoying the view of blue skies and the warm sun beaming through the window. With the weather getting a bit warmer, it’s time to change the gear on cooking to lighter foods.

As we're often told how great and healthy a Mediterranean diet is, with fresh fish, barely cooked vegetables and plenty of olive oil, this week’s recipes follow these very simple rules.

I was lucky enough to be away for Easter with the family and it was great to taste and enjoy the light, healthy food in the sun.

These dishes are easy to replicate, and the peppers are great with all fish dishes.


(Serves 6)

6 portions of mackerel – this will also work well with sardines or salmon

olive oil


black pepper

For the sauce:

1/ jalapeno chilli, deseeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/3 cucumber, chopped

4 spring onions, chopped

1 handful mint leaves – discard any woody stalks

1 handful coriander – again, no woody stalks

3 fresh oregano leaves

1 pinch muscovado sugar

1 lime, juiced

50ml olive oil

salt to taste

Get the barbecue ready – this dish works best when the fish is grilled on the barbie. Whilst it's heating up, brush the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I always use one of those new griddles which look like deconstructed toastie makers as they hold the fish together and the handles keep your mits away from the flames.

Cooking time for a medium sized fish will be approx. 2.5 minutes on each side but keep an eye on them as barbecue heats differ.

For the sauce, try and make this while the fish cooking, as the fresher the better. Simply place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth; add an ice cube at the end and blend again.

Serve the sauce on the side and place the fish on the plate.



(Serves 4)

4 large yellow and red peppers

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tblsp chopped parsley

sea salt

Start by placing the peppers on the barbecue over the white coals until they begin to blister and blacken. If you don’t want to do this on the barbecue you can place in the oven on its highest setting for 30 minutes. With the barbecue you get the great charcoal flavour.

Once the peppers are cooked, place into a dish to cool. If you have removed them from the barbecue you will want to rub the skins to discard any blackened marks. If removed from the oven, just leave to cool.

Once cool, remove the stalks and seeds and discard. Slice the peppers and place in a clean bowl. Add in the raw chopped garlic and the olive oil and scatter with the chopped parsley. Season with sea salt and bring to the table.

This is great with toasted sourdough or with almost any fish – including grilled mackerel!

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