Mackerel. Maquereau. Makreel.

On Wednesday, I went to the open-air market in Leiden. Leiden’s a pint-sized university town about a 15 minute bike ride from my house. As well as being the birthplace of Armin van Buuren, it’s also the most decent market I can get to easily. We ended up getting 3kilos of fresh mackerel, some for freezing and some for dinner that night.

Now what to do with the mackerel? Usually, we spice it with a ton of garlic and ginger and some hot (way up there on the Scoville scale) pepper. This time around, I decided to do something different… so I went for this Japanese-inspired recipe. again.

This was my first time filleting fish since my fishing trip to Norway in 2008…  I missed my fishing buddies dearly, but moreso, I missed having a sharp fishing knife! I had to sharpen my knife 3 or 4 times just to get through four fish without massacring them completely.

Didn’t have any mirin (sweet Japanese wine), which is a shame because it would’ve given the fish a great flavour… so I used dry sherry and threw in a tablespoon of honey to make it a bit sweeter. Other than that, the only other change I made was to add a bit more ginger.

I decided to cook the fish on the barbecue. Cooking filleted fish on the barbecue can be a bit daunting because the flesh is so delicate. Usually I put some foil down on the barbecue, and then put some parchment paper on top of that, and then proceed to cook my fish. This usually results in burnt paper though, so I decided to try and cook it on the bare grill. I googled a bit and found out the secret to grilling fish well. It’s kind of obvious, really. 1. Oil your fish or oil your grill. 2. Make sure your grill is really hot. Then it only needs to be on there for a few minutes. As with steak, only flip a fillet once. That’s it… and it worked!

I added a bit of cornstarch to the leftover marinade and made a glaze for the fish. I’d say this is a great, flavourful, simple recipe that I’ll definitely use again. The flavour lends itself to be used on other kinds of fish as well, especially salmon. I look forward to making it again!

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