The cooking of Italy is what I like to refer to as the “genius of women”.

It is Mamma’s food, which influences Italian menus all over the world. Our own restaurant is influenced by the spirit of generations of Italian women, interpreted by modern chefs and local Scottish ingredients.

The old ways of cooking are still connected with new, 21st century dishes by the “Cucina Povera”, literally “the cooking of the poor” in southern Italy.

This is a recipe that is true to the “Cucina Povera” principles of using local produce and preserving techniques. Mackerel is a fantastic ingredient to use, as it’s cost-effective and caught locally in Scottish waters.

The recipe is also finished with simple, store cupboard ingredients to give a delicious Italian twist.

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Serves 4


8-10 cooked mackerel fillets

2 red peppers

For the curing marinade:

3 bay leaves

6 sprigs of thyme

500ml water

125ml cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

For the onion vinaigrette:

95ml extra virgin olive oil

15ml balsamic vinegar

1 spring onion, fine chopped

15g chives, finely chopped

For the garnish:

1 tbsp sultanas

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Micro basil


1 First, make the curing marinade. Add all the ingredients to a pan and bring to a simmer. Set aside and leave to cool completely. Place the mackerel fillets skin side down in a tray. Cover with the marinade and leave in the fridge for 3 hours.

2 Preheat an oven to 200°C. Roast the peppers for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and then remove the skins and cut into slices.

3 Make the onion vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisking together.

4 To assemble, lay the peeled pepper slices on each plate. Add 2 to 3 mackerel fillets around the plate and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the sultanas and pine nuts. Spoon over the vinaigrette and finish with a little extra virgin olive oil and micro basil.