Chef Recipe: Frank Pabst’s Grilled Mackerel with Chunky Romesco Sauce & Scallions

Wednesday, 6 October 2010 | Tags: ,

Award-winning chef Frank Pabst was our guest for the Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag episode featuring How to Cook Everything. Here's his delicious seafood recipe with a savoury nutty sauce.

Frank Pabst says the Romesco sauce is best made the day before so that the flavours have a chance to combine nicely. For a wine accompaniment, try a light and fresh grüner veltliner from Austria.

Serves 4.


Romesco Sauce

4 red bell peppers
2 Roma tomatoes
1 oz raw almonds
1 oz raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp focaccia bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tbsp aged sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp espelette pepper
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


4 mackerel fillets, each 4-1/2 oz, skin on, de-boned3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, in wedges
8 green onions
4 thin slices of focaccia bread
1 clove garlic


Romesco Sauce

Preheat a grill to high. Place red bell peppers directly on the grill and cook, turning occasionally until the skins are lightly charred on all sides. Remove from the heat, place in a covered bowl and allow to cool. Using a sharp knife, remove and discard the peel and seeds, then finely chop bell peppers.

Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a small pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add tomatoes and blanch for 10 seconds, then plunge them into the ice bath. Peel the tomatoes, cut them in half and discard the seeds, then cut into a small dice.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then rub the nuts with a kitchen towel to remove the loose skins. Roughly chop the nuts.

Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add bread crumbs and garlic and toast until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes. Add chopped nuts, red bell peppers, tomatoes, shallot and vinegar. Season with paprika, salt and espelette pepper, then cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a blender or a food processor, purée the mixture. Stir this purée back into the sauce. Add parsley and set aside to cool.


Preheat a grill to high. Brush mackerel with ½ tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill, skin-side down, for 2 minutes. Turn the fish over and grill for 30 seconds more. Transfer fish to a plate and squeeze with fresh lemon juice.

Brush green onions with ½ tbsp olive oil and grill until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add focaccia slices and pan-fry on both sides until golden brown and crunchy, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture, then rub croutons with garlic.

To serve, place a mackerel fillet on each plate. Arrange a slice of focaccia beside the fish. Top the focaccia with two tablespoons of romesco sauce and two green onions.


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