Holy Smoked Mackerel, Batman!

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-175728

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6196 Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6193
Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6204 Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6206

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6186

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6187 Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6188
Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6197 Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6202

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6211 Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6216

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!

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-6209

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.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-132620

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!"

  1. Katie

    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!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    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!

    Reply
  2. Sarah (@tamingtwins)

    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?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    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…

    Reply
  3. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    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!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Oh I didn’t know you’d done that… shall have to send my interview to you too! Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Urvashi

    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

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    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.

    Reply

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