Lemon and wasabi mackerel with parsnip noodles


I love the contrasts of sweet, salty and citrus in a lot of Japanese cooking and wasabi is one of my husbands all time favourites (he can eat scarily large amounts of it seemingly immune to its heat!). These flavours were the inspiration for this dish – sweet earthy parsnip, salty silky mackerel and fresh citrus dressing.  I also really like spiralised vegetables as an alternative to noodles. They a great way to get more vegetables into your diet but they introduce such a range of possible textures and flavours to “noodle” dishes.

Lemon and wasabi mackerel with parsnip noodles:

Time: 15-20 minutes to prep ahead, <10 minutes on the night

Dietary info: gluten free, pescatarian (can be made vegan – see “changing it up”)

Serves 2-3

  • 1 parsnip, spiralised, grated, finely sliced or peeled into ribbons
  • 2 mackerel fillets

Wasabi sauce:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 2 tbsp water

wasabi sauce

  1. Bake the mackerel fillets in an oven proof dish for 10-15 minutes until they flake easily and are opaque all the way through.
  2. Allow the fillets to cool and then flake, removing as many bones as you can (see tip).
  3. To make the wasabi sauce, mix the wasabi paste to a smooth sauce with 2 tbsp water then combine this with the soy sauce and lemon juice.
  4. Put the parsnip into a non-stick frying pan or saucepan with 4 tbsp of the wasabi sauce and a enough water so that there is a thin covering of liquid at the bottom of the pan and stir to evenly coat the parsnip in the wasabi sauce.
  5. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 4-6 minutes until the parsnip is just softening, adding a splash of water if it dries out before the parsnip has cooked.
  6. Stir in the flaked mackerel, heat through and serve with the rest of the wasabi sauce to drizzle over.

mackerel noodles cooking

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the sauce and store in an airtight box in the fridge.  This keeps well so you can also make double or triple quantities and use it with other dishes such as drizzled over baked salmon or stir fried oriental mushrooms and served with sushi rice.
  • The mackerel can be cooked and flaked and stored in a box in the fridge a day or two before you cook this dish.
  • The parsnip “noodles” can be prepared and kept in a sealed bag in the fridge the day before cooking.  Try to avoid preparing these more in advance as the “noodles” may dry out.  this means that this is a very good dish to prepare on a Sunday and eat on a Monday.

parsnip noodles

Some tasty little tips and twists…

Preparing the mackerel fillets

  • You can tell when the fish is ready as it will change from translucent to opaque all the way through and “flake” apart easily when you touch it.
  • When the fillet is cooked and cooled, the skin should peel off in one or two pieces easily.
  • The bones will mainly be along the centre of the fillet.  The fillet should come apart easily along the line if you gentle pull it apart with your fingers.  You can then feel along both sides of this divide for the bones and pull them out with your fingers or tweezers.
  • You can also buy ready cooked, boneless mackerel fillets if you don’t like preparing fish and break these into flakes with two forks.

Changing it up

  • This dish would also work well with hot roast salmon flakes or crab instead of mackerel.
  • If you want to make it vegetarian / vegan you could also replace the mackerel with about 150g shittake and / or oyster mushrooms, fried in a splash of sesame or groundnut oil with a pinch of salt.



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