Healthy, tasty and inexpensive, mackerel is one of my favourite fish. It’s sublime if you can get it really fresh, but it is, of course, widely available smoked, and pairs brilliantly with acidic fruit such as rhubarb (technically it’s a vegetable, but in the eyes of the US legal system, it’s also considered a fruit), which is happily coming into season now. Try this quick compote for a speedy tasty lunch.

(Serves 4) 95p per person
100g fresh rhubarb, sliced finely, 56p
Dash of lime juice, 3p
2 tsp honey, 10p
1 fresh chilli or pinch of chilli flakes, 9p
300g smoked mackerel, £2.39
100g fresh spinach or salad leaves, 50p
4 slices wholemeal toast, 12p

Combine the rhubarb, chilli, lime and honey in a small-lidded saucepan. Bring to the boil, put the lid on and let it simmer for about five minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the pan. Add a splash of water if it needs loosening up.

Remove the lid and let it soften gently for another five minutes, until the consistency is right, and keep it hot.

Meanwhile, warm the mackerel fillets through under a hot grill – about five minutes each side.

Serve the mackerel flaked on toast alongside the compote and spinach with a squeeze of lime and honey drizzled over the top.

Tip: For a more substantial meal, wilt the spinach, flake the mackerel and toss through a short, fat pasta. Thin the compote with a little oil to make a sauce, and combine.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

First published in The Guardian, 2 April 2014. Photograph by Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian.

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