How to Cook a Wolf
Okay, maybe not a whole wolf, like M.F.K. Fisher writes about in 1930’s France from
THE ART OF EATING – but a FISH. This was a real WHOLE MAQUEREAU (mackerel) head, eyes, and all.
It was not intimidating. I kept thinking of Daddy. When he wasn’t flying he was fishing. He ‘d bring that smelly fish (as I use to call it, only it wasn’t the fish, it was HIM, ha) into the big kitchen on 94th Street in Miami Shores and start scaling it, then washing it, gutting it and frankly I was pretty impressed. What I didn’t realize, was that this fresh fish we were enjoying that evening and every week thereafter was the freshest and most tasty food I ever ate. The rest of the time it was TV dinners, because that was the ERA. Sometimes, (a lot actually) we ate out at Watson’s where it was , um, not bad, but the vegetables were definitely canned. The only thing that might have been fresh were the “chicken croquettes”.
When we left for North Carolina each and every summer, it was fresh fresh everything……collards, green beans, okra, black eye peas, all picked that same day from neighbor’s local farms. That taste of fresh stayed in my memory forever.
That’s what makes cooking a fresh mackerel very exciting. Knowing that this is something that was – well, swimming this morning!
I was so busy with this fish, that I failed to take pictures of after it was done – and it was a bit of a lesson in removing the head and separating the entire top from the filet in one fell swoop. It was more like bits and pieces, but ahhhhh when it came time to taste, it was absolutely fine, tender, tasty. The recipe is darn easy. I, personally need more practice on the removing of head, tail and bones ……….
Easy Roasted Fresh Mackerel (In French: Maquereau )
For 2 people:
2 small cleaned whole Spanish mackerel or bluefish (with head and tail). Mine was “bluefish”
Can of tomatoes in herbs or fresh tomatoes chopped, with olive oil and S & P and herbs d’ Provence
Sliced potatoes and carrots
S & P
Saute the carrots & potatoes in olive oil and a bit of butter till browned but not totally cooked. Save on plate. Place cleaned whole fish in casserole, sprinkle with S & P and a bit of olive oil. Pour tomatoes on top with herbs, add potatoes and carrots. Put in 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Watch it carefully. When fork tender or eyes of fish turn white – it’s done.
There are YouTube videos of how to separate the fish from the filet, from head and pulling right off to leave one nice whole filet, but if it’s too soft may fall apart. That’s okay, remove head, bones, tail and remove from skin.
from Marti in Cassis