Thursday, March 4, 2010

Smoked Mackerel!

There is something to be said for embracing what we eat with as much responsibility possible. I'm not just referring to whether or not a product carries an organic label. What I mean is realizing that our food had a journey, and for those of us who eat meat, accepting that it was a living creature. It had a personality, eyes, ears, a mouth, maybe a tail and it had to graze or hunt to stay alive. This is where many of us have been given the opportunity to look the other way and ignore those intimate details. But I would like to say that if we are going to eat animals, or products that come from animals, give them the respect they are due, and if possible, take the chance to look them in the eye and say thanks.
I did just that today, quite literally. I bought 2 small fresh mackerel and didn't realize that they hadn't been cleaned until I got them home. So we got up close and personal so to speak. I appreciated seeing what the fish had eaten before they were caught. There were shimmering scales in each of their stomachs, giving me a glimpse of their ocean story.
Mackerel are small oily fish, (except for the King Mackerel variety which are large, high in mercury content and should be avoided for eating.) These little mackerel are packed with omega 3's, protein, vitamin D, B1, B2, B6, B12, copper, niacin, iodine, iron and selenium. Nutritional gems!
When purchasing, it is important to see that the eyes are clear and ask a bit about where it came from. Smoking is a great option for mackerel. We thoroughly enjoyed them with collard greens and squash.

How to Clean a Whole Fish:
Belly side up, make a slit right down the center of the fish from just below the gills to the meaty part of the tail.
Scoop out the innards. Run the fish under cold water and rinse well. It's that easy.

Smoked Mackerel:
*Fresh cleaned mackerel
*sea salt
*charcoal grill
*cherry or apple wood chips, soaked in water
*high quality hardwood charcoal

Salt the fish inside and out. Make a small fire on one side of grill. Add charcoal slowly creating a bed of hot coals. Place the soaked chips on top of glowing coals. Put rack over coals, place fish on opposite side of
heat, cover, (allow a bit of the smoke to escape trough steam holes), and smoke for about 30 minutes or until the fish skin cracks and flesh is cooked through. You may need to flip them halfway through.
Remove from grill and serve whole with horseradish cream or as is with greens and hearty veggies. Watch for bones, and of course, don't forget to eat the tender cheeks!

No comments:

Post a Comment