“ Brand: Morrisons / Type: Fish „
PRICE: £2.49 for 260g (2 fillets)
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per fillet):
(of which sugars: 0.8g)
(of which saturates: 3.1g)
(of which mono-unsaturates: 10.0g)
(of which polyunsaturates: 7.5g)
Omega 3 fatty acid: 0.5g
Salt equivalent: 1.3g
Mackerel (65%), wheat flour, oat flakes, flavourings, pepper, yeast, sunflower oil, salt, citric acid, dextrose, parsley, water, rapeseed oil, wheat gluten, potato starch, rice flour, wheat starch, modified tapioca starch, dextrose, whey powder, mustard flour, curcumin, paprika extract
Contains fish, gluten, milk and mustard
Produced in a factory which uses celery, egg, shellfish, sulphites and soya
Although every care has been taken to remove all bones, some may remain
My local Morrisons has a very good chilled fresh fish counter, and one day whilst browsing, I spotted their Mackerel In Oatmeal Crumb. I'm not overly mad on mackerel in general, but eaten in certain ways it can be rather palatable, so I decided to give this Morrisons product a try.
The product consists of two good-sized pieces of mackerel which are packed together in a rigid plastic tray which is sealed on top with a clear, floppy plastic cover. There is a card band around the pack which on the front shows an image of the fish pieces as a serving suggestion together with Morrisons' standard trademark, and on the rear is the nutritional information, ingredients list, dietary/allergy advice and storage/cooking instructions.
The fish pieces are a good size - thick and substantial-looking - and are perfectly shaped in that there are no straggly bits on the ends. The coating appears to be rather thick, with large compacted pieces of flavoured oatmeal that are a dull amber colour.
On opening the pack, quite a strong smell of what I can only identify as aniseed rises up, mixing with a powerful mackerel aroma. There is no mention in the ingredients list of aniseed, but the smell certainly is there.
During the cooking process (I opted for the oven-bake method), a strong smell of fish mixed with aniseed permeated the kitchen. I can't say it was an appetising aroma, as firstly I don't like the smell or the taste of aniseed and secondly it just didn't to me smell how fish should when it's baking.
Once it was ready, I served one piece onto a plate (saving the other for later) with jacket potato, peas, broccoli and grilled tomatoes. The colour of the fish didn't appear to have changed during the cooking process, and the whole thing looked rather dry, with no fish oil seepage through the oatmeal coating.
Taste test time!
I cut into the piece of fish and was pleased to see it appeared succulent, and a sort of pale-ish chocolate brown colour that is typical of unsmoked mackerel. The fish was in firm flakes and was a thickly generous serving, but I found the oatmeal coating to be more substantial than I personally like.
When I took the first mouthful of the fish, though I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I was surprised....and not all that pleasantly. The oatmeal coating had a powerful aniseed flavour which I found quite unpleasant, and I could taste mustard strongly - mustard is another thing I don't like. The fish itself was dryer than it looked, and the very potent mackerel flavour to me just didn't blend at all well with the most peculiar flavour of the oatmeal.
It was an effort to wade through the whole piece of fish, as to me it just didn't really taste all that nice. It might have been better if the oatmeal coating were thinner though.
I plodded on, not enjoying what I was eating yet not wanting to waste it. I saved the vegetables until last, to give myself some relief once I'd finished the fish. Not wanting to force myself later to eat the second piece, I scraped the oatmeal off and gave the bare cooked fish to next door's cat, who apparently wasn't over-impressed either.
Despite what I've said above, I wouldn't class Morrison's Mackerel In Oatmeal Crumb as a poor quality product - quite the contrary, as the fish was substantial despite being a little on the dry side, and it was obvious that great care had been taken with presentation. I think I'd have liked the product better if the coating were made of breadcrumbs rather than oatmeal, as though I like oatmeal, I don't feel it is suitable for this kind of fish recipe. I'd also have preferred the mustard flour to have been omitted from the coating as it gave it a far too strong flavour which, bearing in mind that mackerel in itself has a very strong taste, the two didn't compliment one another.
I won't be buying this again, as I found the whole experience of eating this fish rather bizarre, but I'd imagine people who love mackerel, mustard and this mysterious aniseed taste, would enjoy the product very much.
It could be worth a try if you are a fan of this kind of food and don't mind weird combinations of strong flavours, as it is an excellent source of protein, and does contain some omega 3 oil.
As for star rating, I don't want to unfairly downrate simply because the product contained ingredients that I don't personally like - so I'll opt for three stars, knocking two off for the fish being drier than I feel it should have been.
Thanks for reading!