My brother thought my piped sweet potatoes were mushrooms. I gave him the side-eye and my upper lip lunged into a snarl.

Nope, a creative way to use up garlicky sweet potato mash from the night before. Well, I thought so any way. You can use cubes of roasted sweet potato or by all means, lightly sautéed mushrooms would also work.

Slicing the tops of the broccoli florets finely to yield ‘couscous’ crumbs is a wonderful way to eat broccoli raw. It adds an unexpected texture to the salad and the big one…..doesn’t really taste identifiably of broccoli. How’s that for an all round winning situation?

Why didn’t my mother coucous the broccoli, I cried out at my discovery! So many years of kitchen agony could have been saved.

Use a balsamic vinaigrette of your choice. I used a smoked beetroot vinaigrette from de Librje, the first three star Michelin that we visited.  I’m so glad to have some of the products from their store in my cupboards. While I can only dream of returning to eat there, I feel a wonderful nostalgia about that experience when I open a jar of pickles, dressing, salt or wine made by them. The gifts I am happiest buying are often food related.

This is a filling salad and will earn you brownie points with the health nuts too.


Serves 2

8-10 broccoli florets

2 x 200 g lightly smoked mackerel fillets

2 T olive oil

1/2 cup rosa or other baby tomatoes, whole if tiny or sliced in half if bigger

4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried

60 ml  balsamic vinaigrette

salt, to taste

3/4 cup roasted sweet potato cubes or mash (optional)


1. Slice the green bits off the broccoli florets (stop before the white stalk) finely, so that you are left with what resembles a green couscous or fine grains. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Grill the mackerel in a pan on medium-high heat with the olive oil, skin side first for 2 minutes a side or until done. Don’t allow the fish to dry, but do get the skin to crisp nicely.

3. Toss spinach leaves well in dressing and lay on serving plates or bowls. Add tomatoes, half the broccoli ‘couscous’ and salt and mix well.

4. Add the sweet potato cubes or if using mash, pipe into rosettes, bake on greased tray at 180 degrees Celsius for 8-10 minutes until browned.  Mix gently into the salad.

5. Top with the grilled mackerel and serve remaining broccoli crumbs over.

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