grilled mackerel, sicilian caper-tomato salsa; blue potato

We love mackerel, and I’ve cooked it often. These were definitely the biggest fillets I’ve ever grilled; I was grateful that we weren’t eating off of the 8-inch creamware plates I had used in the Providence house for years.

These large fillets were perfectly fresh, made a great presentation, especially since I got them to the plates without their coming apart (even the skin remained fully attached), and I managed to cook them to a perfect doneness.

It’s been a long time since I’d included the potato part of the basic recipe I’ve been using for years.  It was only after I had decided to do so that I realized I didn’t have any variety that would seem suitable for ‘twice-cooking’. I went with what I had, a dark blue sort-of-fingerling type.  They worked perfectly, tasted great, and looked pretty dramatic.

  • two 8-ounce Spanish mackerel fillets from Pura Vida Seafood, washed, dried, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground black pepper, pan grilled on both sides on top of a cast iron 2-burner plate over high heat for 7 minutes, skin side down first, removed and completed with a salsa consisting of 7 quartered Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods tossed with olive oil, wild brined capers which had been rinsed and drained, juice from a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, salt, and pepper, and sprinkled with a mix of chopped lime basil and oregano from Lani’s Farm
  • ten ounces of small-ish ‘blue potatoes’ (which are dark blue inside too, and stay so after cooking) from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, scrubbed, boiled – unpeeled – until tender (about 15-20 minutes), drained, allowed to cool slightly before being cut into thirds, cooked, stirring occasionally, with a tablespoon of olive oil inside an already warmed tin-lined copper skillet, the flame immediately turned to high heat, until lightly browned in spots (that is, if you can tell), I’d say for about 5 minutes, the heat turned way down and one large clove of garlic from John D. Madura Farm added and cooked until crisp, or for about 3 more minutes, seasoned with Maldon sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rose Lodi 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was a portion of the multi-CD album, ‘Music of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles, 1959‘; by way of explanation, immediately before dinner we had watched ‘Morocco’ the 1930 Josef von Sternberg classic, starring Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, and Adolphe Menjou (and it was even far better than I had expected!)