Heritage tomatoes, cured sardines, rooftop herbs

6
2 hours

Ingredients

Cured sardines

  • 20g of fennel seeds
  • 150g of parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 200g of coarse sea salt
  • 1kg whole sardines, heads removed and gutted
  • olive oil, (for storage)

Smoked mackerel

  • 20g of fennel seeds
  • 150g of parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 200g of coarse sea salt
  • 3 medium mackerel
  • ice cubes

Anchovy dressing

  • 120g of salted anchovies
  • 50g of capers, drained
  • 180ml of white wine vinegar
  • 50ml of extra virgin olive oil

Tomato dashi

  • 15g of dried kombu
  • 500ml of water, boiled and cooled (or use filtered or still mineral water)
  • 1 nori sheet, weighing 3g
  • 10g of bonito flakes
  • 100g of cherry tomatoes on the vine, sliced (vines reserved)
  • 1 tsp white soy sauce
  • 1 pinch of flaky sea salt
  • 3 basil stalks
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced

Assembly

  • 800g of heritage tomatoes, chopped
  • wild rocket, both leaves and flowers
  • tarragon leaves
  • bronze fennel
  • sorrel leaves
  • basil leaves

Method

1
Make the cured sardines 5 days before serving this dish. Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Tip into a blender or food processor and add the parsley, lemon zest and garlic cloves. Blend together to make a coarse paste. Add the salt and blend again
  • 20g of fennel seeds
  • 150g of parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 200g of coarse sea salt
2
Spread some of the paste over the bottom of a clean container, then layer up the sardines and the remaining paste so that the fish are completely covered. Cover with an airtight lid and leave to cure in the fridge for 5 days
  • 1kg whole sardines, heads removed and gutted
3
Remove the sardines from the paste. Rinse well and pat dry. Fillet the sardines. Pack them into a jar, cover with olive oil and seal. Store in the fridge. When you remove any the sardines from the jar, ensure that the rest remain covered with olive oil
  • olive oil, (for storage)
4
The smoked mackerel can be made up to 2 weeks in advance, or you can start making it the day before you plan on serving the dish. Make the cure by using the same method as the cured sardines
  • 20g of fennel seeds
  • 150g of parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 200g of coarse sea salt
5
Gut the mackerel and remove the gills. Rinse well to remove any blood. Pack the cavities with some of the salt mixture, then completely cover the fish with the salt mixture on a tray. Leave in the fridge for 6 hours
  • 3 mackerel, (medium)
6
Rinse away the salt mixture and pat the fish dry. Return to the clean dry tray and leave to dry out, uncovered, in the fridge overnight
7
You now need to cold-smoke the mackerel. For this, take a tray with a steam insert (such as a deep roasting tray that will hold a flat steaming rack) and spread the apple wood chips over the bottom of the tray. Warm it over a medium heat until the chips start to smoke
8
Meanwhile, place a tray of ice cubes on the steam insert and put the mackerel on a tray over the ice. Remove the tray of smoking wood chips from the heat and set the steam insert over it. Completely cover the top and sides tightly with oven-safe cling film so the smoke is sealed inside with the fish
  • ice cubes
9
Return the tray to a low heat and leave to smoke for about 1 hour – keep an eye on the fish to be sure it is smoking not cooking, and adjust the heat under the tray if necessary. Replace the ice and replenish the wood chips as required during the smoking
10
Fillet and pin-bone the fish. Char the skin side of the fillets with a blow torch, on a barbecue or under a hot grill. The cured mackerel fillets can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks
11
To make the anchovy dressing, place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor. Blend on a high speed, then gradually add the oil while blending. The dressing can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 7 days
  • 120g of salted anchovies
  • 50g of capers, drained
  • 180ml of white wine vinegar
  • 50ml of extra virgin olive oil
12
To make the dashi, add the kombu to the water in a pan and bring to a very gentle simmer (do not boil). Simmer for 1 hour
  • 15g of kombu, (dried)
  • 500ml of water, boiled and cooled (or use filtered or still mineral water)
13
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a jug. Add the nori, bonito flakes, soy sauce, salt, tomatoes, tomato vines, basil stalks and garlic. Allow to infuse for 40 minutes
  • 10g of bonito flakes
  • 3 basil stalks
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 nori sheet, weighing 3g
  • 1 pinch of flaky sea salt
  • 100g of cherry tomatoes on the vine, sliced (vines reserved)
  • 1 tsp white soy sauce
14
Taste to check the seasoning – the dashi should have a strong savoury flavour – and adjust as required. Strain the dashi through the fine sieve
15
Take four of the cured sardines and finely chop them. Slice one fillet of cured mackerel (the remaining cured and smoked fish can be kept for use in other dishes)
16
Dress the tomatoes with the anchovy dressing and the cured sardines. Spoon into bowls and top with the mackerel slices. Pour the tomato dashi into small glass bottles
  • 800g of heritage tomatoes, chopped
17
Place a small bunch of rocket, tarragon, bronze fennel, sorrel and basil in the top of each bottle. At the table, use scissors to snip the herbs over the tomatoes and pour over the dashi
  • tarragon leaves
  • bronze fennel
  • sorrel leaves
  • basil leaves
  • wild rocket, both leaves and flowers