I went for a walk with Mike and his friend Alan on the coast of north Cornwall, down a farmland path to the secluded beach of Tregardock where the sea is wild against the looming rocks. The nearest town is Port Isaac where this Cornish mackerel came from, landed that day.
Alan baked it for 20 minutes in the oven with butter and served it with steamed broccoli and asparagus. Opportunistically, it dawns on me that Alan was serving up a dish fit for a blog competition on seasonal eating.
Mackerel, said Alan, is a summer fish, while broccoli is also in season. But asparagus? Feeling like the Seasonal Police, I quizz Alan about its provenance. Oh dear, has seasonal-awareness turned me into an officious and impolite guest? He assures me Cornwall’s warm climate allows asparagus a longer season, and is not offended. Nevertheless this moment sums up the fine balance I tread between being a real food lover – and a prig.
Alan serves the dish with a leek-and-cheese sauce which adds a luxuriousness to everything and soon all thoughts of seasonal-criteria fade as I give myself to the pleasure of eating. It was delicious, tasty and went down a treat. What more do I want?