Grilled mackerel BLT with winkles and horseradish, Ireland | 50 kitchens, one city - 50 recipes, 50 restaurants, 50 nations | 50 kitchens, one city | DW | 24.05.2017
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A culinary world tour through Berlin

Grilled mackerel BLT with winkles and horseradish, Ireland

Alan Micks's Irish roots show through – especially when it comes to fish. Grilled mackerel BLT is his version of the classic sandwich. But rather than bacon, lettuce and tomato, at Hotel Michelberger, it's mackerel.

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Alan Micks: "Berliners are a little bit cold sometimes."

From dishwasher to head of the kitchen: That's one way to sum up Alan Micks' career. He was discovered after taking a job during his school vacation in his hometown of Limerick, Ireland.

Alan Micks (Photo: Lena Ganssmann)

Alan Micks

Alan Micks was washing dishes in the kitchen of a restaurant, when the chef offered him the chance to help make the restaurant's popular sandwiches. He gave it a go, ended up making up to 200 bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches – or BLT's – every day. After finishing school, Alan Micks trained as a chef. He worked in Australia and New Zealand before coming to Berlin in 2014 to take a job as Executive Chef at the restaurant Michelberger in Friedrichshain.

Michelberger Restaurant in Berlin's Friedrichshain district

The restaurant is owned by the eponymous hotel that opened in 2009. It's a former industrial building that in the 1940s housed workshops where machines were repaired. Now, in the evenings, it opens its doors to seat an international crowd of 80 people.

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50 kitchens, one city: Ireland


Grilled mackerel BLT with winkles and horseradish

Serves 4


For the winkles:

  • 8 rectangular slices sourdough bread thinly sliced (2 mm) on a machine or with a sharp knife,
    crusts left on
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 10 g Maldon sea salt
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 4 slices parma ham or pancetta
  • 20 winkles or small conches
  • 20 g butter
  •  ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 20 g block fresh horseradish
  • Wild herbs for garnish. Some chervil will do also.

For the fish:

  • 2 large mackerel, gutted, fileted and cleaned
  • 20 g salt
  • 20 g white sugar
  • 1 T chives, chopped finely
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the lettuce puree:

  • 2 shallots
  • 10 g capers
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 5 g parsley
  • 10 g spinach
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 head baby romaine lettuce, keep the small leaves
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 100 ml canola oil


Conches should be soaked in water overnight.

Place the thinly-sliced bread on baking paper on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place another sheet of paper on top and another baking tray on top of that. Bake these for ten to twelve minutes at 180°C or until golden brown. Allow to cool and set aside.

Place all ingredients except oils in a high-speed blender and blitz for one minute on full speed. Slowly start to add oil until you have an emulsion, then season with salt.

Filet mackerel with a sharp knife by removing heads first then running the knife down against the back bones. Turn fish over and filet other side. To remove the small pin bones, cut them out with a long diagonal cut either side of the bone line.

Wash the four filets and pat them dry on a clean kitchen towel.

Remove skin from two of the filets. Dice the flesh roughly into 5 mm by 5 mm cubes and place in the fridge for later.

Hotel Michelberger
Warschauer Str. 39-40
10243 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 29778590

Michelberger Hotel website

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