Thomasina Miers’ recipe for Asian-style smoked mackerel salad with grilled broccoli.

Smoked fish and earthy grilled broccoli are offset by a sharp, spicy-sweet dressing

Thank goodness it’s February: only a month or so until we can start looking forward to spring. This punchy, fresh and healthy salad will get your month started in the right way with hot chilli, masses of umami flavour (from miso, sesame and soy) and all the goodness of ginger, greens and oily fish.

Asian smoked mackerel salad with chilli dressing

The charred, earthy notes of the grilled broccoli are lifted by the sharp, hot, sweet Asian-style dressing – this makes a wonderful lunch with crusty bread – or a great starter.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

For the dressing
2 tsp white sugar
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

For the salad
250g purple sprouting or Tenderstem broccoli
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
4 smoked mackerel fillets
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp red or brown miso paste
100g watercress
1 head radicchio or 2 heads red chicory, washed and shredded
A couple of inches or so fresh horseradish, to serve (optional)

Make the dressing first: put the sugar and vinegar in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and add the chilli and ginger. Transfer to a clean jam jar and, once cool, stir in the soy, sesame and rapeseed oil. Set aside.

Put a griddle over a high heat. If you are using purple sprouting broccoli, cut the thicker stalks into halves or quarters. Toss the broccoli with the sesame oil and half a tablespoon of soy until coated. Lay it out on the hot griddle and cook on all sides until it is nicely charred but still has some bite to it (don’t let it go floppy!).

Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Beat together the remaining tablespoon of soy, the honey and the miso paste, then rub the mixture all over the mackerel fillets. Put these, skin side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Grill for three to four minutes until warmed through, brushing over any remaining marinade during the cooking.

While the broccoli is still warm, toss it with the leaves and half the dressing. Transfer to plates, top with the mackerel fillets and spoon over the remaining dressing. Grate horseradish generously over the salad, if you are using it, then serve right away with very fresh bread.

And for the rest of the week

To make this more substantial, serve with steamed jasmine rice. The dressing adds a wonderful Asian character to all sorts of salads: try carrot, sprouts, spring onions and red peppers as a side to teriyaki chicken. If you manage to get fresh horseradish root, wrap up any leftover and freeze for Bloody Marys.