Jun 6, 2012

scomber scombrus

is the atlantic mackerel (also the boston mackerel). being low on the food chain and a habitué of cold waters, it is both rich in flavour and poor in mercury (though some disagree). on a whim (and spurred by the serried ranks of gleaming and bright-eyed fish at the lotte market), i picked up a few and caused them to be gutted on the spot but left otherwise whole.

last summer in denmark, there was much mackerel. (they were making a nordic version of garum.) i ate raw filets of it right after the whole fish were broken down, i ate it fried in richly flavoured unfiltered rapeseed oil on top of toasted rye bread, i ate it pickled in apple cider vinegar with paper-thin radish slices. mackerel is one of the best fish around: it loves acid and/or high heat more than leaner fish do.

at home, the mackerel turned quickly into long, thin filets. mackerel has a toughish skin, which can be removed neatly: with a sharp, narrow-bladed knife, skin-side down, cut just under the tail end to make a little tip of skin and flesh to hold on to. slide the knife along, pressing it down to the board, while pulling on the little tip. easier done than said. (this skin does become nicely crisp when grilled or pan-seared on high heat, but is distractingly chewy otherwise.)

the head (halved medially) and all the little trimmings went into a pot with water to cover. after gentle simmering, this produced a sweet, briny fish stock with a 1/4" thick layer of fish oil on top, worthy of the name fumet. soup tomorrow!

some of the filets went into a rice wine vinegar/salt/sugar pickle solution (with some garlic and ginger), some others went into a cider vinegar/cilantro pickle solution.

the last filets went, after a brief turn in a very hot pan and a squeeze of lime, into me.

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