mackerel, tomato/caper/epazote salsa; potatoes, lovage

It’s a magnificent fish.

Oily or fatty fish is richer in flavor than other finned seafood, ‘fishy’, meaning it has a stronger flavor of the sea (I love the sea), an extremely healthy choice, usually sustainable, and often relatively inexpensive. Fresh is essential, and very fresh, as these 2 fillets were, can be awesome.

Mackerel needs almost nothing but seasoning to complete it, but introducing an acid can raise it to an ethereal level. I usually pick some kind of good tomato, usually along with some citrus, almost always the celestial lemon.

  • two very fresh and very perfect 8-ounce Spanish (aka ‘Atlantic’) mackerel fillets from American Seafood Company, washed, dried, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with local sea salt from P.E. & D.D. Seafood and freshly-ground black pepper, pan grilled on a large, 2-burner cast iron grill pan over high heat for a total of about 6 minutes, skin side down first, then turned over half way through, then removed, arranged on the plates and dressed with a salsa assembled just before grilling the mackerel, consisting of 8 ounces of small halved ‘honeydrop’ heirloom cherry tomatoes from TransGenerational Farm tossed into a small bowl with a teaspoon or more of rinsed and well drained Sicilian salted capers (halved, since these were large), half a tablespoon of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic Mexican lemon, a pinch of sea salt, a bit of black pepper, and some pungent very fresh epazote leaves, also from TransGenerational Farm, finished with more epazote sprinkled on top

  • roughly 12 ounces of pinto potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, scrubbed, boiled whole and unpeeled in heavily-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, a tablespoon of Whole Foods Market house Portuguese olive oil added, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, mixed with a little chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, arranged on the plates and tossed with a little more of the herb
  • the wine was an Oregon (Willamette Valley/Dundee Hills) white, Oregon Pinot Blanc 2016, ordered directly from Erath
  • the music was Rameau’s 1748 opera, ‘Pygmalion’, performed by the Apotheosis Orchestra, conducted by Korneel Bernolet