Recipe // Peppery pecan mackerel soul food plate

There are times in life when you just need an injection of food goodness. That time is now. I thought I had a lot of time to prep to move house, thought I was organised, more organised than ever before - but let's face it, moving it stressssssful. You live off food grabbed on the go, with all your usual prep equipment in boxes and my face is telling the tale! But I LOVE the new house, I'll be blogging about it very soon - it's had a bizarrely quick profound effect on how I see food and I've never been more inspired by food than I have the last few weeks - I've made a point of getting out and about and meeting new local suppliers and I hadn't realised I had placed myself in such an amazing spot for local farms and traditional businesses and I'm over the moon. Stay tuned for more.

But in the meantime I desperately needed one of those soul food plates. An explosion of flavours and nutrients to make everything well with the world. This is one of those plates - the mackerel and pecans are hormone balancing as well as making the brain smile, the wild rice provides gorgeous slow release energy and the greens are full of mood boosting magnesium. The radish and watercress are super peppery but the sweet orangey dressing evens it out beautifully and the pecans and wild rice add a bit of crunch and work so well with the oily fish.

I admit that I'm a lazy cook and chopping fiddlier foods bores me but I chose shallots over salad onions as shallots have a robust roundedness that work so well with the rest of the ingredients, I'm really glad I did too. I am ashamed to say I'd never heard of Yuzu until recently when I was shooting some beautiful Yuzu scented Honest candles for Workshop Living, but the same evening I spotted some juice while shopping so picked some up. Yuzu is citrus, not unlike an orange but slightly more tart which makes it perfect for a dressing. The joy is you can double all this up and keep remaining salad, mackerel and dressing separate for lunch, dinner or dinner party starter the next day.

Ingredients For the salad - enough for 3-4

  • 2 handfuls water cress (chopped or torn roughly)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach (chopped roughly)
  • 4 smoked and cooked mackerel fillets
  • 40g dill (or small handful) torn
  • 6 fresh radishes sliced and halved
  • 1 shallot, sliced finely
  • 50g pecan halves, lightly toasted
  • 100g wild rice, cooked and cooled

For the dressing

  • juice of half a large orange
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy) sauce
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed or olive oil
  • small dash of orange blossom water
  • large dash of Yuzu dressing (available at Waitrose) - optional


In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients and toss well. Then in a separate cup combine the dressing ingredients and give them a good stir. Throw over the salad and Bob's your uncle!

Travel photographer Emma Gutteridge
Travel photographer Emma Gutteridge

Formally Emma Gutteridge