Mackerel has a wonderful flavour, perfect with the punchy flavours of the roasted roots and horseradish. A fish in plentiful supply, that is so good for us, so tasty, but sadly under used. Ask your fishmonger to fillet and pin bone the mackerel for you, this is then such an easy recipe to cook and a big fat tick in the box for increasing fish intake in the diet!
This is the third and final recipe developed for the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome module of my Diploma in Culinary Medicine. I’ve included the nutritional information at the bottom of the recipe if you’re interested to read why I selected and used certain ingredients.
1 large parsnip
1 sweet potato
2 large carrots
2tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp natural Greek yogurt
1tsp grated hot horseradish
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 mackerel fillets
chopped fresh chives to garnish, optional
steamed green vegetables to accompany
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Scrub the vegetables clean but don’t peel them. Cut the parsnips, carrot and sweet potato into chunky fingers. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with about 2tbsp olive oil, season well and roast for 20 minutes. Scatter over the thyme and turn the vegetables to coat. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine the yogurt, horseradish, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl and whisk together. Season well to taste.
When the vegetables are cooked, keep them warm. Season the mackerel fillets. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the mackerel skin side down for about 5 minutes or until the flesh is beginning to change colour around the edges (see photo, right). Turn over and cook for a further minute.
Divide the vegetables between 2 plates, top with the mackerel fillets and drizzle over a little dressing. Garnish with chopped chives if wishes and serve with steamed green vegetables.
Mackerel is packed full of essential omega 3 fatty acids that are so beneficial to our bodies. They help maintain the health of the cell membrane, which keeps the cell receptors functioning effectively. This includes the insulin receptors, which will maintain the efficient transport of glucose into the cells to be used as energy. Mackerel is also a great lean protein source, the protein will reduce the speed of digestion allowing sugars to be released slowly, avoiding increasing blood sugar levels too quickly.
Parsnips are high in fibre, which will slow down the release of the sugars present, therefore avoiding blood sugar spikes. They also contain a sugar called inulin. This is a very complex sugar, which is small enough for us to taste but is not digested and absorbed into the body. Ideal for a diabetic as it gives a sweet flavour but the inulin in the parsnip won’t affect blood sugar levels.
Sweet potatoes are so much better than potato, which will cause a massive sugar spike due to its high level of simple sugars. Sweet potato on the other hand has a low glycaemic response as it releases its energy more slowly avoiding a rapid insulin response and thereby avoiding sugar spikes. They have the added advantage of containing carotenoids, which are beneficial for the cardiovascular system an area that is quite vulnerable for a diabetic.
Olive oil is a good source of omega 3, a fatty acid essential for maintaining the health of cell membranes and cell function. This will keep cell receptors working efficiently and facilitate improved insulin production, utilisation and sensitivity.