Late spring, before hotter temperatures wither and harden leaves, is the best time to make use of herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chives and dill, with a generous hand. At this time of year you can use fresh dill to make a dish of cured mackerel and add pea-flavoured fenugreek leaves to early summer potato salad.
Fresh Fenugreek leaves have a pea-like flavour that goes well with early summer dishes. Photo: Getty Images.
- 85g sugar
- 70g salt
- 10g crushed black peppercorns
- bunch of finely chopped dill (around 100g)
- 4 fresh mackerel fillets
- In a bowl, mix together sugar, salt, black peppercorns and dill.
- Sprinkle a third of this herb mixture on the bottom of a gratin dish and lay two, fresh mackerel fillets, skin side down on top.
- Cover with another third of the herb mixture, and place two more mackerel fillets (flesh to flesh) on top of this.
- Sprinkle over the remaining third of the herb mixture and cover with cling film, then weigh down with a wooden chopping board and leave in the fridge to cure for at least 24 hours.
- When the mackerel is ready, scrape off the herb mixture and cut the fillets into thin slices (watching out for bones).
- Serve with rye bread and a beetroot salad or the potato salad below.
Potatoes with fenugreek
- 1 large bunch of fresh fenugreek
- 500g small, new potatoes (waxy salad type)
- 2tbsp butter
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp ground coriander
- ¼tsp ground turmeric
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off and discard the stalks and roots of the fenugreek and wash the leaves.
- Soak these in a bowl of water while you scrub the potatoes, halving any larger than an egg.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan heat half the butter and all the oil and cook the potatoes, tossing frequently for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add the greens and toss to wilt them (2 min) add the rest of the butter.
- Put the lid on and lower the heat. Cook until tender (10 min) check often and add a little water if they are sticking.
- Finally, take off the lid, turn up the heat and add the salt, pepper and spices, stir for a minute then serve with lemon wedges on the side.