Singapore may be in the tropics, but we’re experiencing a bit of a heat wave out here, too! This light, refreshing and healthy salad makes for a great packed lunch for those days when the sweltering heat dissuades you from leaving the comforts of your office. And if you happen to be off enjoying your summer vacation, then this would be a super addition to your picnic basket.
I have been eyeing the beautifully packaged jars of sustainably sourced, hand filleted fish from Good Fish on the shelves of SuperNature for quite awhile, so I leapt at any excuse to crack one open. I enjoyed a jar of the delicious tuna in a roasted vegetable and quinoa salad, but was unsure as to how I should harness the strong flavours of Spanish mackerel. It occurred to me that grilled mackerel tastes best with a generous dusting of salt and a good splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice, so I set out to incorporate a good level of acidity and savouriness into my salad. I took inspiration from a tuna and orzo recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and liked the results so much that I thought I’d share my recipe with you.
The Spanish mackerel from Good Fish is strong tasting without being offputtingly fishy. It’s nicely seasoned straight out of the jar, so it gives a touch of character to this salad, which I like (consider how sea salted air is so intrinsic to the pleasures of sitting on a beach). I feel that tuna or salmon would fade into the background in this context. The Spanish extra virgin olive oil that the mackerel sits in is an added bonus. It was so lovely that I drizzled it into the salad. And the random pops of sweetness you get from the raisins keep it from tasting like a one-hit wonder. The addition of fresh lemon juice and zest, as well as fresh peppermint leaves makes this salad taste like something you should be enjoying while sitting barefoot in the sun out on a boat somewhere. I hope you do!
Lemon & Mint Quinoa Salad with Mackerel
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Lemony Orzo with Tuna
1 cup quinoa
½ jar (about 70g) drained Spanish mackerel, flaked
⅓ cup raisins
½ cup finely sliced spring onions
½ cup loosely packed fresh peppermint leaves, roughly torn just before using
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A generous drizzle of olive oil from the jar
Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse the quinoa in a sieve (this washes away the saponin which gives it a bitter taste) then cook it in a rice cooker in the same way you would rice. Use 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Set it aside to cool. Quinoa can be cooked and refrigerated if necessary.
Toss the remaining ingredients into the quinoa and season to taste.