I love the fact that Mackerel seems to show up at our several fishmongers’ stalls exactly at the moment I’m thinking I should serve something different than seafood with less assertive flavors. This time that moment was this past Friday.
The plexiglas cover above the square bucket holding these Beautiful iced fillets was inscribed in wax crayon with the words, “Atlantic mackerel”, which is a species similar to Spanish mackerel, available here at other times. The two are slightly different, but according to Wikipedia, most of what distinguishes them is apparent (and then barely so) only in the spots and coloring of the skin.
Paul, from whom I purchased these beauties on Friday, told me he prefers to call them Atlantic mackerel because, “Why give Boston the credit?”. He’s right of course, because they have been called Boston mackerel only because it was mostly from wholesalers in Boston that markets in other cities obtained these fish, which are actually not found anywhere near Boston, but only in shallow waters off lower Cape Cod and as far south as Florida.
Regardless of the nomenclature, which is always confounding when dealing with fish, unless you stick to Latin, all mackerel make great eating.
Also, and this is a big deal for us, since I tend to start making dinner very late in the evening: The entire meal was prepared in just under 60 minutes.
Here, their flesh sides rubbed with the garlic and paprika paste, the mackerel are placed with that side down on top of a lightly-oiled sheet of parchment inside a large unglazed ceramic oven pan, and, with their skin sides seasoned with sea salt, are about to go into the oven.
The potatoes (‘red potatoes’) were almost generic, but a sweet and delicious foil for the mackerel. Also, their skins did add little bits of color to the plate
- I halved Gordon Ramsey’s recipe, and among the ingredients I used, mostly following its directions, were 8 Atlantic mackerel fillet (a total of 17 ounces) from Paul Mendelsohn at the Pura Vida Seafood stand in the Union Square Greenmarket, rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, 3 large red potatoes (one pound) from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, a teaspoon of Pimentón de la Vera pikant, 2 scallions from Stokes Farm
- winterbor kale from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, washed, drained, wilted in a little olive oil in which 2 bruised Keiths Farm rocambole garlic cloves had first been allowed to sweat and begin to color, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and drizzled with a little more olive oil
- the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Le Salse, Verdicchio di Matelica, 2016, from Flatiron Wines
- the music was the album, ‘La Sublime Porte – Voix d’Istanbul 1430 – 1750’, Jordy Savall, Montserrat Figueras, and Savall’s ensemble, Hesperion XXI