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.
Words Jojo Tulloh
Illustration Sarah Young