Our village shop has a daily battle on its hands to keep itself in our hearts and minds as we plan our weekly shopping. With three supermarkets (two of them offering ‘le hard discount’) within two miles, it’s all uphill.
Dominique and Joel, the owners, have three types of customer: the old faithfuls who buy all their groceries there. There are so few of these that if one of them goes on holiday, or worse, dies (I did say old faithfuls), it makes quite a difference. There are those of us who shop a fair bit there, and make a conscious decision to do so, to keep the shop in business as an asset for the whole community. And there’s the passing trade, and those who only go if they’ve forgotten the matches, or fancy a tub of ice-cream just before closing time.
So they encourage local producers, offer delivery, open earlier and later than the supermarkets (though they have a long break at midday) and are constantly on the look-out to stay noticed.
One of their winning ideas, though, is to supply fresh fish on one day a week. You’re as well to get yourself there in good time on Wednesday, or it’ll all be gone. Every week, there’ll be a choice of two varieties. And last week, the choice was a fairly unusual one for this part of the world: mackerel, my favourite. Inspired by various ideas from BBC Good Food, though owing allegiance to none in particular, this is the speedy no-nonsense meal I came up with.
Grilled sweet soy mackerel
- 4 mackerel fillets
- zest and juice of 1 lime, or 1 lemon
- 1 tbspn. rapeseed oil
- Noodles, as required
For the sauce
- 2 tbspn. soy sauce
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
- Juice 1 lime or lemon
- Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbspn. muscovado sugar
- 2 tbspn. water
- Score the mackerel fillets a couple of times on the skin, then lay them in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the lime or lemon zest and juice, and leave to marinate for 5-10 mins.
- Place all of the sauce ingredients in a small pan and gradually bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 mins to thicken slightly, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Turn the grill to its highest setting and place the mackerel on a greased baking tray, skin side up. Sprinkle the fillets with the oil and some sea salt, then grill for 5 mins until the flesh is opaque and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles.
To serve: divide noodles between shallow bowls, top with mackerel fillets, and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over the top