AS many of you know, I recently paid a visit to my family in Ireland and enjoyed some hearty and delicious meals whilst I was there.

One of the best things about visiting the Irish coast is sampling all the magnificent fish and seafood that’s on offer and fresh mackerel is by far one of my favourites.

I’ve written various things about mackerel over the years and I’ve shared a couple of recipes with you already but this week I tried something new – mackerel with pomegranate. And what a taste sensation it is!

Pomegranates have always been highly prized for their flavour and have been popular in the Middle East, northern India and some Mediterranean countries for centuries. However, their recent classification as a ‘superfood’ has seen their demand soar, especially in the UK and Europe.

Not only do they look very pretty, with their red jewel-like seeds, they’re also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and iron as well as being a good source of fibre.

Pomegranates have long featured in traditional Middle Eastern dishes but their culinary opportunities shouldn’t be limited to this.

Toss them into salads, add them to fruity desserts like Eton Mess and Pavlova, sprinkle them on yoghurt, cheese, soups, stews or shake them into your cocktail. You can also cook them with red meat, chicken or fish to add a little colour and flavour to sauces.

When selecting a pomegranate choose a bright red, firm fruit and avoid any that are discoloured or have cracks or bruises on the skin. The skin and the pith are inedible and very bitter but the ruby red seeds encased inside are incredibly sweet and juicy.

The most popular method of removing the seeds is to cut the pomegranate in half, hold it over a bowl, and bash the skin with a rolling pin to release the seeds.

Be careful, however, because the juice will stain, as my chef’s whites can prove!

Serving pomegranate with fresh mackerel is such a simple but impressive dish that’s incredibly nutritious and great all year round.

The sweetness of the pomegranate paired with the sharpness of the red wine vinegar contrasts beautifully with the oiliness of mackerel to create a really special dish.

Fresh mackerel with pomegranate

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 fresh mackerel fillets

The seeds of 1 small pomegranate or half a large one

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper

2 baby gem lettuces

Pre-heat the grill to its highest temperature.

Using a sharp knife, score the mackerel skin three of four times. Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and black pepper and cook under the hot grill, skin-side up, for 5-6 minutes until the skin has browned and started to bubble and crisp.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar and a twist of salt and black pepper. Add the pomegranate seeds and any juice and whisk together.

To serve, pull apart the baby gem and arrange the leaves on a plate. Sit the mackerel fillets on top and finish with the pomegranate dressing.