Wednesday, July 07, 2010
The mackerel isn't a delicately flavoured fish and its richness doesn't always lend itself well to a simple 'lemon and herbs' pairing. But given the right treatment (see PICK OF THE RECIPES) it is a fantastically moist, flavoursome fish that makes an inexpensive and very healthy meal.
Health experts recommend eating at least one serving of oily fish, such as mackerel, each week. Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12.
Look for mackerel with shiny bodies and bright eyes. They should be firm-feeling and rigid; fresh mackerel won't droop if held horizontally by the head. The freshest specimens are likely to be found in good fishmongers or markets. After buying mackerel be sure to keep it cool until you get home.
Oily fish spoil faster than white fish and mackerel is best eaten on the day of purchase or within 24 hours if kept chilled. It can also be frozen successfully.
Ask your fishmonger to gut the fish. At home, wash under cold running water and pat dry before cooking. Baking, grilling, barbecuing, or pan-frying are excellent cooking methods. To check if mackerel is cooked, slit the fish at the thickest part with a small knife: the flesh should appear just opaque but still moist.
Due to mackerel's richness, cream or butter-based sauces are best avoided. A spicy treatment works well, as does matching with something sharp. Gooseberry or rhubarb sauces are traditional accompaniments, or try experimenting with citrus flavours such as ortanique or pomelo.