Grilled mackerel and barbecued spanish onions with sweet and sour sauce
There's usually a bit of maintenance to do on the grill plates before you can start barbecuing. Dried and burnt bits of sausage and rusted-up remains from last year need to be removed. Turn the barbecue up full, put the lid down if you have one and let it burn for 10 minutes until it stops smoking. With a wire brush, remove the charred remains and give it a final clean with a damp old tea towel held on the end of some tongs. Prepare the surface by dipping a large onion, cut in half, into some olive oil and rubbing the grill and plate with it until all surfaces are well oiled. Turn the gas down to a medium flame and you're ready to go.
Photo: Tanya Lake
Have your say
- 4 grey (spanish) mackerel cutlets or 4 whole and gutted blue mackerel.
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
- 750ml of red wine vinegar
- 4 spanish onions
- olive oil
- smoked paprika
- fennel seeds
- salt and pepper
- lemons (garnish)
Use either 4 grey (spanish) mackerel cutlets, about 2cm thick, or 4 whole and gutted blue mackerel. If these are unavailable, any oily fish such as large sardines, kingfish cutlets or whole small trevally are perfect for barbecuing.
For the sauce
Make the sauce first by putting 1/2 a cup of sugar in a high-sided pot with 2 tbsp of water. Bring to the boil and keep it bubbling away until the sugar has caramelised to a light mahogany colour. Carefully pour in 750ml of red wine vinegar and keep it simmering until it reduces by half. Turn it off, transfer to a bowl and cool - it should be syrupy.
Cut 4 unpeeled spanish onions in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle generously with smoked paprika and crushed fennel seeds, season with plenty of salt and pepper and grill on the barbecue. Brush the fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place it on the barbecue. Brush some of the sweet-and-sour sauce on the top side of the fish before turning, then do the same to the other side.
When the onions have softened, remove their outer skins, place on a serving plate and sprinkle with a little sweet-and-sour sauce.
Serve the fish with the onions and wedges of lemon.