“ Brand: Epicure / Type: Fish „
PRICE: 71p for 115g at my local Morrisons
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per 100g):
Mackerel fillets (63%), tomato (21%), sunflower oil (14%), salt
NO DIETARY/ALLERGY ADVICE SHOWN ON THE PACKAGING
Living alone, tinned fish is a very good thing for me to have a good stockpile of in my food cupboard, as it has a long shelf life, plus it is very versatile in the sense that it can be made into all sorts of different things, such as a fish 'shepherd's pie' or pastry pie. It can be eaten with salad, mashed potato & vegetables, made into a sandwich or had hot on toast...all sorts really. I've tried loads of different brands of tinned fish like tuna, pilchards, sardines, but until recently, never tinned mackerel. I don't generally find mackerel particularly appealing, and wondered if canned in tomato sauce it would tempt my palate more than usual, so the last time I was in Morrisons, I popped a tin into my basket.
Epicure Mackerel Fillets In Tomato Sauce come in a largely dark blue box, with the Epicure logo and a picture of some substantial-looking pieces of mackerel on the front and back. The sides of the box show nutritional information, ingredients list and Epicure's quality claim together with their details. There is no allergy/dietary advice anywhere on the box.
Inside the box, the tin has a ring-pull function, which I found easy to grasp and roll open - so much better than those old key-operated pull-back methods of opening. Inside, there are about four quite small, but fairly thick mackerel pieces which are red with the somewhat thin tomato sauce, and a strong fish smell rises up from the can. There is a line of yellow-ish oil on the outer edge of the sauce, which did put me off just a bit as I generally don't like oily/greasy food.
I felt that the best way to test the product would be to have it plain, on a plate with a little green salad, just as a snack sampler. The pieces of fish looked truly delicious, but I didn't serve all of the sauce onto my plate, due to it being too thin (I'm sure many years ago, the tomato sauce in these cans of fish such as pilchards etc. was much thicker than it now is, or is my memory distorting itself?). I tipped away the oil which was clinging to the edges of the tin, and sat down to eat.
The fish was lovely and tender, very easy to eat, and totally boneless. The flavour of the tomato sauce was quite strong, plus slightly spicy, and I found that it enhanced the taste of the mackerel rather than swamped it. I didn't like the thinness of the sauce though as I found it bordering upon watery, and it was making my salad wet and sloppy.
The following day, I tried the second tin of mackerel a different way. This time, I tipped the whole contents of the tin including all the red juice (after having got rid of the oily residue), into a bowl and mashed with a fork. I then spread the mixture thickly onto two slices of toast, and heated under the grill, then serving with a handful of watercress. I found this for my own palate, to be a much better way of eating Epicure Mackerel Fillets In Tomato Sauce, as mashing the fish into the sauce seemed to make it acceptably thicker, plus a little of the sauce evaporated during the grilling time.
The result was rather tasty, and I think so far this is my preferred method of eating the product. Despite the addition of salt (a thing which always makes me suspicious, flavour-wise), it didn't taste at all salty.
I haven't tried any other way of eating it yet, but noting that the consistency of the whole thing was much better when mashed up, I believe in advance that making a fish 'shepherd's pie' or ordinary pastry pie with the mackerel would be better than eating it as it is, just tipped onto a plate.
This is a product which is very high in protein, with no artificial additives and is reasonably low-ish in calories - I'd probably accurately estimate that if you tip the oil residue away, and/or only have part of the juice or bin the juice altogether, that the calorie content would in turn be reduced quite a lot. I'm not too sure why the sunflower oil has been added to the product, as mackerel in itself is an oily fish and for my own tastes, it can do without more.
I quite likely will buy this product again, but I think I shall tip the whole of the juice away first before eating instead of just some, as it really is far too thin - and that for me is the feature which stops Epicure Mackerel Fillets In Tomato Sauce getting awarded the full quota of five stars. One star gets knocked off for the thinness of the sauce, and another star gets knocked off for the oiliness. Other than those two gripes about the product, it's great. Cheap, filling, tasty, versatile and nutritious.
Thanks for reading!