James Sommerin, owner and Head Chef at Restaurant James Sommerin on the seafront at Penarth, Cardiff serves up a delicious, light and summery mackerel dish, great for eating al fresco.   Mackerel is very much in season and readily available  – and we all know seasonal is best.



4 Mackerel Fillets (skin on, pin boned)

2 tbsp soy dressing

2 tbsp dill oil

Soy Dressing

2 cloves garlic

100ml rapeseed oil

30ml soy sauce

5ml nam pla fish sauce

100ml olive oil

20ml ____

Dill Oil

100g fresh dill

200ml rapeseed oil


8 baby heritage tomatoes

1-2tbsp soy dressing


4 rectangular pieces of cucumber

8 ribbons of cucumber


1-2 tbsp dill oil


4 baby globe artichokes (peeled)

1 tsp lemon juice


Salad leaves

Olive oil caviar

Barbecue and coals


For The Soy Dressing (Make Ahead)

Mix the ingredients and gently warm the dressing to around 70c for 3 hours and leave to infuse and cool.

For The Dill Oil (Make Ahead)

Blanch and refresh the dill then place into oil and warm to around 70c for two hours and leave it to infuse

To Prepare The Tomatoes

Blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds in boiling water and refresh in cold water. Remove from the water and marinate in soy dressing for around 30 minutes.

For The Baby Artichokes

Cook the baby artichokes with lemon juice in water for 12-15 minutes until soft. Cool in the liquid. When cool, halve and remove heart from the centre. Place in with the tomatoes when ready to marinate.

For The Roast Cucumber

Cut the cucumber into four 13cm pieces and roast in a dry pan for 3 minutes to gain colour. Add some oil and cook for a further 3 minutes to soften. Do not overcook or they will become mushy.

To Make The Cucumber Ribbons

Peel the cucumber into ribbons with a peeler, salt for two minutes, pat dry and marinate in a little olive oil.

To Prepare The Mackerel

Marinate the mackerel in a mixture of dill oil and soy dressing before barbecuing. Cook over the coals for around 3-4 minutes, making sure the fish does not overcook.

Chef’s Tip

To get a really crispy skin on the mackerel without over cooking the fish, finish the skin with a blow torch. It also helps with the flavour.

To Finish