Smoked mackerel with gooseberry and camomile compote

smoked mackerel pancake with gooseberry and camomile compote

Given the abundance of sweet, lush and juicy soft fruit available, gooseberries have to work hard to find a place at the table during the summer months.

They really can’t rival the juicy sweetness of a bowl of ripe strawberries and lush raspberries topped with a generous spoonful of ricotta and a drizzle of good honey. What those beautiful semi-transparent orbs do offer though is a tart note that makes summer savoury dishes a bit more interesting.

This combination of mackerel and gooseberry is not revolutionary; it’s a classic flavour pairing and is one of my favourite simple, speedy supper dishes - pan fried fresh mackerel with a dollop of gooseberry sauce and a side of well-seasoned potatoes, simply boiled.

This recipe came about because I had some leftover gooseberry and camomile sauce from a cheesecake I made and wanted to add a layer of tart sweetness to cut through the dense, soft ‘cheese’ layer. Pulling together some leftover pancakes from breakfast and a few fillets of smoked mackerel, it came together quite quickly. Using saucer sized pancakes would produce little wraps that would make good for a picnic. I started to get a little cheffy and made about a dozen little bites that were polished off pretty quickly. They would work well for a party, or maybe a light starter.


  • 2 large pre-made pancakes*

  • 200g red gooseberries, washed, topped and tailed

  • 50 ml hot water infused with camomile

  • 2tbsp coconut sugar

  • Handful lambs lettuce

  • A couple of radishes, thinly sliced

*To make the pancakes, whip up a batch of batter using 1 cup rye flour, 1 egg and 1 cup milk. Beat into a smooth batter and allow to rest.


To make the compote, place the sugar in a pan and add the camomile infusion. Heat to dissolve the sugar and add the gooseberries. Simmer on a medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool. (I like my compote to be quite tart. You can add more sugar to suit your own palate.)

Heat a drop of oil in a pan and add a ladle of the pancake batter. Heat until the pancake starts to bubble and blister and then flip – approx 2 minutes on each side.

Using an egg cup, cut out little rounds from the cold pancake. Top with a couple of leaves of, lambs lettuce, a slice of radish and a dollop of compote. Drizzle with some good olive oil.