A Taste of Summer
I came home from my August trip to Maine with some fresh mackerel for the freezer. I’ve been meaning to pull it out and do something with it for a few months now and finally got myself together to cook it. After pawing through the myriad offerings stowed in the depths of the upright I found a small bag with a pair of large fish and a pair of small. It seemed just right.
The smell, even while frozen was amazing. These fish smelled fresh, like the ocean. I didn’t get complicated with a recipe, mostly due to time. Trying to throw together a week night dinner while tending to young kids when my better half is working late demands keeping it simple.
I heated my trusty cast iron skillet to medium high, hit it with some olive oil and tossed in a diced onion. I let this saute for a moment then pitched in a can of diced tomato. After adding some salt and pepper and letting it simmer a moment I dumped it into a small bowl and added some more olive oil to the skillet. In went the two large mackerel to fry momentarily on each side. Then I hit them with oregano, basil and thyme. I added the same to my onion-tomato mix, then sliced up some green olives I found hiding out in the refrigerator. I put the remaining two mackerel (the little ones) into the skillet, dumped the onion-tomato mix on top and put it in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes.
One bite and I was back in Maine, looking out at the water feeling the lingering grit of sand between my toes and a faint salty dampness in the air. Although it’s December here in Vermont, for a brief moment I was back on the coast basking in the summer sunshine. Lobster might be the signature Maine seafood but mackerel is right there with it, holding its own. If you ever get the chance, don’t overlook this palatable, abundant and fun-to-catch fish.