Preserved Mackerel and Garbanzo Bean Hummus

Fish is a big part of our gastronomic heritage. Not only the fresh seafood available at local markets or from fishermen, but one of our most characteristic features as a country is our preserved version of ocean goodness.

Considering our hot climate and the lack of refrigerators in the past, our ancestor’s only solution was to produce canned goods. In fact, the Algarve was – and still is – vastly known for its intensive production.

I introduce you to Saboreal and their preserved fish delicacies. The idea is just amazing, especially the fact that these guys aren’t joking about being unique. Besides using jars and an autoclave to prepare the products, they use local fish and sustainable activities to support their business. I salute them, and so should you.

Main differences that I recognised in the products? The texture of the fish is delicious, the fillets don’t shrink dramatically like the canned versions, plus you don’t have to dirty any Tupperware’s in storing away any leftovers – you just screw the lid back on!

▪ 1 can of garbanzo beans
▪ 1/2 teaspoon paprika
▪ Sea salt to taste
▪ Freshly-ground black pepper
▪ 2 cloves of garlic
▪ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
▪ 1 jar of Saboreal Preserved Mackerel (olive oil included)
▪ Green roasted peppers
▪ Sun-dried tomatoes
▪ Fresh cilantro
▪ 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Drain the garbanzo beans and marinate them with salt, pepper, paprika, minced garlic, olive oil that has been used to preserve the fish (use it for its flavor, no need to use untainted olive oil, and surely no need to waste the jarred one away) and baking soda for at least one hour. If you would like to do this overnight, even better. The baking soda is meant to help break down the beans, which results in an even smoother purée.

2. Purée the garbanzo beans (save three tablespoons of intact beans for texture and presentation purposes) in a blender until smooth. Be sure to add at least five tablespoons of the remaining fishy olive oil so it becomes extra smooth and flavorful.

3. Place the hummus in a bowl, top with the intact garbanzo beans, roasted peppers, deboned and separated filets of mackerel and a squeeze of lemon juice. Decorate with some sun-dried tomatoes, fresh cilantro and more olive oil to shine it up!

Cut some slices of bread (I went healthy this day and bought a malt seed-rich loaf at the local German bakery).

Eat, dip and nibble ‘til your heart is content.

By Megan Melling
Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started in 2011 when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Estoril. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She has worked as a cook in Lisbon for the past year and is currently in the process of opening up a gourmet project in Lagos. Check out all of her personal recipes on her blog and facebook page Mel’s Vittles for some yummy photos and food facts.