Published on September 6th, 2012


Holy Mackerel! Can it be turned into red wine food?


wine and mackerel

Appeared in The Resident, August, 2012

by Rebecca Dunphy

Routinely buying from supermarkets, we tend to forget what food treasures we have locally. To all you ardent supermarket shoppers I urge you to take a jaunt on Hastings beach. The best time is at high tide, when the sea is calm, the summer air balmy and you will see scores of locals fishing for their mackerel supper.

Between May and October Hastings’ waters are seething with silvery shoals of Mackerel. With high levels of Omega 3, selenium, Vitamin B12 they make fantastic brain food and are effortless to cook. Bake, grill, fry, BBQ or buy it already smoked. Rock-a-Nore Fisheries, Hastings Old Town, smoke their own locally caught mackerel.

So what to drink with this tasty fish? It’s rich, oily and a good example of how opposites attract. Choose a wine that is light with enough fresh acidity to cut through the oily fishiness. Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé always work well, and for those of you who like a bit of spritz or fizz I’d recommend a Portuguese Vinho Verde or Cava.

With extra seasoning mackerel can easily be turned into red wine food. Infuse with pungent herbs like rosemary, bay leaves or thyme and garlic. For spice lovers try it with chilli or smokey harrissa (you can taste this magic pairing at the Old Town fish restaurant, Webb’s Rock-a-Nore). These hard hitting flavours make this flavoursome fish even more compatible with red wine.

Beware of alcoholic, rich reds as they will clash. Instead look for fresh English reds, youthful Spanish Tempranillo, Italian Barbera and Valpolicellas. All are cracking combos for our local mackerel.


Rebecca’s Recommendations:

Spartico Tempranillo, Bodega Iranzo, Valencia, Spain, 2010 £7.99 to £9

Organic and No Sulphur Added.

Available from Trinity Whole Foods and organic specialists Vintage Roots.

If you are expecting oxidized hippie juice, think again! Despite no sulphur this wine is clean, and fruity with a savoury edge. Great for oily foods and health conscious drinkers.

Sandhurst Pinot Noir, Sandhurst Vineyards, 2009, £12.19

Available direct from the vineyards.

So many English reds disappoint, but as you pour you will be reassured by this wines deep colour and scented, juicy black cherry fruit. Try chilled.

Jaume Serra Brut Rosada Reserva, Spain, £4.75 (58% off)

Available from Tescos.

A blend of Pinot Noir and indigenous Treppat, made like Champagne and then aged for 15 months in bottle. Let this delicate, refreshing pink blow you away with its quality and low price.

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