Cured Mackerel Recipe With Tomato Consommé

Elderflower-cured mackerel with tomato consommé

  • serves 4 as a starter
  • Easy

This recipe for elderflower-cured mackerel with tomato consommé comes from Bulrush in Bristol, and makes an easy but impressive starter


*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards



  • mackerel 4 fillets, boned and skinned
  • rock salt
  • olive oil
  • mixed heirloom tomatoes 400g
  • wakame seaweed (dried) 5g
  • nasturtium leaves to serve (optional)


  • shallots 2 long (about 120g), chopped
  • plum tomatoes 700g, chopped
  • garlic 2 cloves
  • golden caster sugar 1 tbsp


  • elderflower cordial 100ml
  • white wine vinegar 4 tbsp


  • basil a bunch
  • vegetable oil 250g


  • Step 1

    To make the tomato consommé, put all the ingredients into a bowl with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp cracked black pepper. Cover, and leave the to macerate for 24 hours at room temperature.

  • Step 2

    The next day, line a sieve with a piece of clean muslin or J-cloth, and put over a large bowl. Pour the macerated mixture into the sieve and leave to drain for an hour, until all the liquid has drained from the tomatoes. Discard the solids, and keep the clear consommé.

  • Step 3

    Lightly season the mackerel with a pinch of rock salt. Mix the pickle ingredients and pour over the mackerel in a shallow dish. Leave for 30 minutes to cure the mackerel. Drain the mackerel of pickling liquid, drizzle with a little olive oil and cut into thick slices.

  • Step 4

    Blanch the basil in pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, and refresh in ice water, then drain again. Put the cooked leaves into a small blender and blitz with the oil. Strain the oil through another piece of clean muslin or J-cloth, and collect the green oil that remains. This will last in the fridge for up to a week.

  • Step 5

    Cover the dried seaweed in cold water and leave to soak until it doubles in size, about 10 minutes. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

  • Step 6

    Add the whole heirloom tomatoes to boiling water for 15 seconds. Then quickly remove and refresh in ice water. Peel the skins off. Cut the tomatoes into quarters if large.

  • Step 7

    To serve, divide the heirloom tomatoes among 4 plates. Add the seaweed, cured mackerel and nasturtium leaves, if using. Drizzle over the basil oil, and serve with a jug of the tomato consommé to pour over at the table.

Looking for more impressive starter ideas? Here are our recipes to try.

Tomato salad with burrata and warm 'nduja dressing

Why not grow your own nasturtiums for this recipe? Our friends over at have written a handy guide to growing nasturtiums here (both the nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible).

nasturtium flowers
Image credit: Getty

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 502
  • Fat 36.8g
  • Saturates 6.1g
  • Carbs 16g
  • Sugars 15.5g
  • Fibre 3.2g
  • Protein 24.7g
  • Salt 1.8g