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Pan Fried Mackerel with Vichy Beetroot & Horseradish Creme Fraiche

This dish was our Mystery Fish Dish Challenge at the Aspiring Student Chef National Final 2019.


Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course.



  • tbsp olive oil

  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped

  • 550g/ 1 ¼ lb fresh small to medium beetroot, peeled, cut into thin slices  

  • 1tsp caster sugar

  • 2 mackerel, filleted

  • 1 small bunch dill

  • chopped freshly ground black pepper

  • 30g/1  oz butter

  • 45ml/3tbsp syrupy balsamic vinegar

  • Extra virgin rape seed oil for the horseradish crème fraiche

  • 150ml/ ¼ pint cream fraiche

  • 2tsp hot horseradish sauce or to taste squeeze lemon 


1.    Place the olive oil in a pan. Add the shallots and cook over a medium heat until softened. Add the beetroot, sugar, season and barely cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a cartouche and allow to simmer rapidly for 20 minutes.

2.    Meanwhile, gently rub the mackerel fillets with a little rapeseed oil. Press the dill onto the flesh side and season the fillets.

3.    Mix the horseradish crème fraiche ingredients together season and set to one side.

4.    Remove cartouche from beetroot, most of the water will have evaporated. Add 25g/1oz butter and the balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook over a high heat for a few minutes until glazed. Season to taste.

5.    Heat a medium non-stick frying pan. Cook the mackerel fillets skin side down first for approx 3/4 minutes until the skins is crisp and very golden, turn over and cook for a further 30 seconds or until just cooked.  

6.    To serve, spoon the beetroot on each serving plate and top with the mackerel fillets. Serve with horseradish crème fraiche.