Monday, July 18, 2011

Mackerel and other fishy fish

One of the great things about a CSF like Cape Ann Fresh Catch is that you get fish you might not normally eat or purchase in a market. For those of us who like whole fish, oftentimes it is hard to even find whole fish at the fishmongers. Still, for most folks there are just some fish that people do not like. Or, let's phrase that differently, there are fish that people don't know they will like yet.

The most common complaint about these types of fish are that they are too "fishy". I love hearing that, it reminds me of when people complain that a wine is too "grapey". The irony of the language however cannot detract from the real feelings that most people have to the strong taste of some oily fish such as herring, mackerel, and bluefish.

I have yet to get a mackerel in any of my shares, though I did get a bluefish or two and once got four or five herring (which I admit I converted into Striped Bass by placing chunks of them on a hook at the end of a line!) If you talk to "old-timers" you'll hear about people eating and loving mackerel "back in the day".

There was a recent article about macks in the Gloucester Daily Times. And an even more fascinating link in the comments from Joey Cimartaro of Good Morning Gloucester about a trap fishery for mackerel with some really nice pictures.

The article though makes great points about how healthy macks are to eat. I also find that the "fishy fish" can be prepared without too much fishiness in particular if they are fresh, you cut away some or all of the dark meat (which is also unfortunately the meat with the most Omega 3 oil), and lastly, you cook them with a vinegar dressing.

I didn't realize it, but when I was a kid we would catch bluefish all the time and cook and eat them ourselves (believe it or not, the parents were more finicky about this than the kids) and we'd coat the fillets in mayonnaise and let then sit for a few hours before cooking to reduce the fishy flavor.

More recently, I had Mackerel at 5 Corner's Kitchen in Marblehead (which unfortunately suffered a fire from the adjoining building last week and will be closed for a month). Chef Barry Edelman grills the mackerel and serves it with a vinegar dressing that is just delightful.

Tangent alert: As a seafood aficionado 5 Corners Kitchen should be on your list of places to eat. Barry is not afraid to serve what is fresh, in season, and sometimes considered "trash fish". He recently had on the menu, bluefish, skate, mackerel and a fish stew made from redfish (courtesy of NAMA - shameless plug). And you will no longer find the albatross of real seafood on the menu - the awful farmed salmon.

In any case, one of the things we discuss at our CAFC meetings is whether folks would like to get mackerel in their shares? One of the problems is finding mackerel that is fished sustainably. Currently other than the trap caught mackerel, most macks are caught in large pair trawlers which have a bad record of huge by-catches of striped bass, haddock and other fish which are just dumped overboard to slowly die on the surface.

Sometimes macs come in as by-catch from the dayboat fleet, and hopefully you'll find a few in your shares at some point and you'll learn to love this very pretty little healthy seafood.

No comments:

Post a Comment