Four years ago a course at Billingsgate Seafood Training School changed my life.
If that seems like it might be an exaggeration, rest assured that it really isn’t because, in a roundabout kind of way, it lead to me finally making it to Japan, a country I’d long yearned to visit. That’s a story for another time, but probably goes some way to explaining why I was so keen to accept the school’s invitation to attend one of their newer evening classes.
Known as Every Which Way Techniques, there are a range of courses to choose from, each one based around a seasonal fish or seafood. In July, crab was on the menu. In September, the theme was scallops. In October the focus will be on Lemon Sole and in November, on Seabass. Our August class was based on mackerel, a fish that’s at its best in late summer.
Classes are £55 per person for a group of up to 12 people and start at 6.30 pm. During the next 2.5 hours you will learn a variety of skills to prepare and cook the chosen fish. At the end you have time to grab a stool and tuck in to your efforts.
During the class, our tutor Eithne taught us how to gut and clean out our mackerels, how to fillet them and what to do if we wanted to cook them whole. With her patient guidance, this seemed very straightforward and all of us mastered the techniques.
The cooking focused on smoking using wood chip shavings and specialist domestic smokers, but Eithne made clear that we could adapt equipment we would likely already have in our kitchens just as well.
We smoked fillets of salmon and whole mackerel and also oven cooked fillets of mackerel with a delicious marinade applied, which we mixed from recipes and ingredients provided.
As an added bonus, when I removed the innards of one of my mackerel, I spotted an intact liver. Asking Eithne if she’d ever cooked one (she hadn’t) I decided to give it a go and see what it was like. Turns out it was delicious, so there’s a top tip for you – mackerel livers for the win!
We also learned a simple smoked fish pate recipe that Pete and I made the next day with the whole smoked mackerel we brought home with us. It was simple, delicious and I shall definitely make it again.
Kavey Eats attended the Smoked Mackerel Every Which Way Techniques class as a guest of Billingsgate Seafood Training School.
News: The school have just introduced gift vouchers. Wouldn’t these make a great Christmas gift? The lucky recipient recipient could book onto a course of their choice, on a date that works for them.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!14 Comments to "Holy Smoked Mackerel, Batman!"
I’d love to go on that class – what a great day!
Was a fun few hours of an evening!
How wonderful, Ed is the smoked fish fiend so this would be perfect for him!
Looks like a great class! I have been eating a lot of smoked fish at the moment. I love it!
Love the flavours of smoked food, always have even when I was little.
I used to see Billingsgate out of my office window when I worked in the Wharf – never made it to their training courses though 🙁 love the idea of smoking your own fish – but you have to be careful of the smoke alarms!
During the class, very little smoke escaped the smoking boxes… even when we opened them actually. I suspect rather more may get out when I do it at home!
This looks fantastic. Love that they teach techniques that you’ll easily be able to use at home, rather than anything hugely ‘chefy’. I guess you could use the smoking techniques for other foods too?
Yes, was good as it gave me confidence to try at home… and without the smoker box as well…
Yes, applies to other foods, will have to experiment with timings though…
I have to tell you I am a mean fish filleter having been an apprentice at Claridges and working in the fish dept before being promoted to the fine dining restaurant. In fact I still love it as I do butchery! I think it is an invaluable skill to learn, well done!
Oh I didn’t know you’d done that… shall have to send my interview to you too! Thank you!
The course we were on together in Cornwall changed my life. Had honestly not touched a fish before then. This looks great too. I love mackerel
Yes I remember it, but in typical Urvashi fashion, you got stuck in and gave everything a go! And your girls were so excited too.