Barbecued mackerel and wild pesto recipe | Kayak, fish, forage & feast

A few weeks back we had the pleasure of sharing our passion for wild food with the lovely Alice Levine, Radio 1 presenter and one half of the fabulous foodie duo Jackson & Levine.  After a day on the high seas fishing & foraging on the kayaks around Dorsets iconic landmark Old Harry Rocks we decided to treat her to one of our favourite dishes; tomato spinach & chive salad with barbecued mackerel & lashings of our wild pesto. It's one of the simplest and yet tastiest dishes to feast on and looks almost too pretty to eat (well almost!) 

barbecued mackerel and wild pesto

We spent the day showing Alice and her lovely other half around our patch of coastal wild here, fishing from the kayaks and foraging for edible seaweeds and sea vegetables as we navigated our amazing Dorset coastline on our trusty steeds, exploring the caves and arches of Old Harry Rocks in a way you can only do by sea kayak.

some of the goodies we foraged on the day from left to right...

Saw toothed wrack, Fucus serratus
Saw toothed wrack grows in heavy bunches on the lower shore, just above the low water mark on sheltered, rocky shores. It is not usually used as a food, as it is often harvested for use in cosmetics, but just like its cousin the bladderwrack it makes a great tea or Japanese noodle soup. You can also use it to add flavour to a stew or to sauté your fish over (see method, below left). Alternatively, you can dry it, grind it down to a powder and use it as a salty condiment.

Rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum
This wild coastal plant is one of those rich pickings that you don't want to miss, occasionally it grows on the foreshore but it's more often found clinging to rock faces or coastal sea defences. Once you know it you won't forget it, it has such an unusual whiff about it that we at team fore describe as a bit like polish! You can eat the flowers, seeds and leaves raw or throw in salad, steam or boil for a few minutes, but to get the best out of this wild edible we love to pickle it.

Wild garlic
Everyone's favourite forage and probably easiest to spot. Perfect for pesto or throwing into sauces at the end, we also love making wild garlic butter and freezing it en mass, we used it here to stuff the cavity of the fish.

Sea spaghetti, Himanthalia elongata
Also be known as thongweed or buttonweed, if we're talking super food it really doesn't get much super than seaweed! Packed with all the green good stuff, sea spaghetti is heavy on the magic mineral iodine which is hard to find in other foods, this helps keep your thyroid functioning healthily. It's also packed with magnesium which helps to make sure your heart is in tip top order, aswell as having high levels of calcium and iron, high in protein and full of anti inflammatory, anti viral and anti bacterial properties there's not much to complain about is there?
 

Barbecued mackerel recipe

Gather a variety of tomatoes, (we love using Isle of Wight tomatoes for the incredible taste and colour.) chop the smaller ones in half and thinly slice the larger ones. Scatter over a board with chives and spinach, fennel is also a lovely addition.

Score the skin of the mackerel and season well with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavities with lemon and garlic or any herbs of your choice and drizzle the fish with olive oil.

When the coals are hot add the fish to the grill, we cooked ours on a bed of kelp to give flavour and protect the flesh of the fish.

Barbecue on one side for approx 5 minutes then turn and cook for another few minutes.

Smother in wild pesto and serve. * Our own wild Pesto recipe will be added to the blog super soon but any pesto you make from a combination of herbs, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil will really make this dish sing, if you don't have the time or ingredients you can of course use a shop bought one.

If this sounds like your kind of adventure then good news, we have just added our new dates for our kayak, fish, forage & feast events in Dorset for next year! Join us to fish off the kayaks for delicious fresh fish such as black bream, seabass and mackerel, pausing along the way to identify and collect edible plants and seaweeds to go with any catch we may be lucky enough to hook! Back at base we get warm and dry and head to one of our super secret seaside locations where all of the ingredients for a feast fit for kings and queens awaits.

We will talk you through how to use the ingredients we have sourced and you will get stuck in to help prep some of the feast, learning new skills to take home with you. The day includes a 2 course supper, Dans banter and all of the enthusiasm of team Fore!

Don't wait too long to book as last years events sold out very quickly and when the spaces are gone there's a long wait for 2019! Here's what some of this years customers said;

"Hi Jade and Dan, I just wanted to say thank you for a brilliant day on Saturday, we all had a superb time. The kayaking was great fun and it was brilliant to see our local landscape from a new perspective with the foraging opportunities just adding to that. As for the food, it was simply superb, fresh, tasty and the perfect way to round out the day. I'm really glad that I found you, it was the perfect thing for us to do, and I'm hoping that I can find an opportunity to come back and do it again soon! All the best" Tom July 2017

"Just could not be improved! Dan was excellent, the session was well equipped, the memories will last forever. I've been coming to Dorset for holidays since I was five, this is the best time I have ever had. Thank you" Deb August 2017