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mackerel with fennel & mint

from  “A choice selection of Regency Recipes you can now make at home” – published by Arundel Press for the Royal Pavilion Brighton (UK)

Picked up by sister T at the Brighton Royal Pavilion when she interviewed Adrian Joly, interpreter (i.e. very knowledgeable person) for that amazing building.  Worth a detour to Brighton, if only for the magnificent airy kitchen – the king was so proud of it he used to drag his guests in for a tour.  See ‘barley water’ for another recipe.

Serves 4

4 mackerel, head removed, boned and cleaned [I think we call this butterflied - remove the bones but not the tail and leave the fish as 1 piece]
[mullet should work well too]

1/2 a small fennel bulb, finely chopped
55 g. unsalted butter
2 heaped tbs day old breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
a large bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped (reserve a few)
4 finely chopped anchovies
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
salt and black pepper

Fry fennel in 1/3 of butter over low heat until soft.  Add breadcrumbs, stir until browned.  Add nutmeg, mint, salt and pepper, stir 1 minute.
Make small slits in the skin of the fish, fill them and the central cavity of each fish with the fennel mix.
Grill on a hot grill for 4-6 minutes each side.
Mash together the anchovies and remaining butter until combined.
Dot the anchovy butter over the fish, garnish with mint leaves and lemon wedges and serve piping hot.

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