I I’m not ready to slow cook a casserole or steam a sponge pudding on the stovetop. Full winter cooking may be delayed by a few weeks. But there’s no denying that the season is moving on and I’m finding myself needing spicy, smoky flavors in my main dishes and a level of comfort cooking in my desserts that seasonal fruit just can’t provide.
This wet autumn – will the rain stop? — gave me a fascination with oily fish, its skin smoky from being charred under a hot grill. I can rarely resist the fishmongers’ glistening mackerel on ice, but this is a more sustainable option that’s just as delicious as herring. The best fish dinner of the week (and there have been several) was the fish we caught grilled in a mustard and harissa sauce, the fish took on a smooth golden sheen from the seasoning. heat.
Also on the table this week is a sweet tomato and pomegranate salad with sumac and fruit molasses. I would happily toss this salad into couscous or a bowl of bulgur, preferably while the grains are still warm rather than chilled.
Late autumn’s raspberries and blackberries are worth cherishing, whether scattered in the filling of a sugar-crusted apple pie or sprinkled on a buttery hazelnut shortbread. Some berries are also made into yogurt and creamy oatmeal desserts. It’s oatmeal in large or small pieces, toasted with brown sugar and then broken into pieces. The crispy, sugary bite contrasts nicely with the soft, billowing curds underneath.
Grilled herring, tomatoes and pomegranates
Harissa varies depending on the brand, and some are spicier than others. Generally speaking, the rose version has a milder flavor, but use whatever you get your hands on. I cook half of the herring or mackerel fillets skin side down so the harissa can penetrate into the meat, and half skin side up so it crisps up nicely from the heat of the grill. Don’t be afraid to let the skin get charred here and there—it all adds to that delicious smoky flavor. A refreshing salad is a must, which is why tomatoes and pomegranates work so well, but you can also use arugula leaves with lemon and capers.
Harissa and mustard are also great for mushrooms. You’ll need a little more because the mushrooms’ gills will absorb it, but you can brush them with the sauce and grill them very successfully. The best results will come from drizzling a little oil on the mushrooms – large, flat ones are best – then grilling them for a few minutes before adding the harissa. Serves 2
Rose Harissa 2 tablespoons
whole grain mustard 2 teaspoons
olive oil 3 tablespoons
herring fillets 6
ground sumac 1 teaspoon
pomegranate molasses 1 tablespoon
olive oil 50ml
Place the rose harissa in a small mixing bowl or jam jar, add the mustard, olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix well. Place the herring fillets, half skin side down and half skin side up, in the container. Grease a baking sheet or baking sheet generously with the paste. Leave for 10 minutes.
Heat the overhead (oven) grill, then place the fish pan underneath and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the seasonings are blackened and the skin on those sides is blackened all over.
While the herring is cooking, make the salad. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces – slices or cubes, the shape doesn’t matter – and place them in a bowl. Cut the pomegranate open and remove the seeds; it’s a messy job, but try to save it for as delicious a ruby juice as possible.
Mix the pomegranate seeds and tomatoes together and add the juice left over from preparing the pomegranates. Add grated sumac, pomegranate molasses and olive oil, a pinch of salt and serve with grilled fish.
Blackberries and Baked Oatmeal
This dessert has its roots in cranachan, an ancient Scottish mixture of cream, oats, whiskey and raspberries. The main differences here are that the oats are crispy and not soaked in whiskey, and I swapped out the raspberries for some extra juicy cultured blackberries that caught my attention. Of course you can use raspberries, or blueberries or a mixture. I also prefer the cream, oat and yogurt mixture the next day, when the oats have had a chance to soak and soften.
Sweetened oats are also worth trying as a less sweet snack. They will keep in an airtight jar for several days. Serves 4
big oats 40g
Medium or pinhead oatmeal 40g
demerara sugar 60g
double cream 250ml
Vanilla extract A few drops to taste
filtered yogurt 200 g
Heat the overhead (oven) grill. Spread the large oats and rolled oats on a baking sheet and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Place the baking sheet under the grill and let the sugar melt and the oats take on a light brown color. Keep an eye on the situation, as sometimes the oats can go from raw to burnt in the blink of an eye.
Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl, add a few drops of vanilla extract, and stir gently until the cream begins to thicken. It should be thick enough to form waves, but not so thick that it forms peaks. Stir in yogurt.
When the oats are toasted and cooled, cut them into small pieces and gently fold half into the cream and yogurt and transfer to a plate.
Spread the blackberries on top of the cream, then sprinkle the remaining toasted oats and rolled oats over the top.
Our goal is to publish recipes for fish rated sustainable by the Ocean Conservancy fish guide
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