Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer mackerel

I joke that the Chinese and the Dutch get along so well because they both love good deals. Of course, we don't have the storage space to stockpile things the way extreme couponers do (seriously, most of these people are sick in the head), and besides, I like to think that the key to happiness is moderation in all things. Including moderation, which explains why there's a dead fish in our fridge.

A few days back I came upon a smoked mackerel at a substantially lower price than normal. I'm normally pretty good about sticking to my list of things to get, but in a moment of weakness (I must've been hungry) I put it in my basket, thinking, "Well, there's got to be some recipe online somewhere. And it's cheap and healthy and not on the list of overfished-fish, so yay!" I've been meaning to wean Karel off of salmon, which comes mostly from Norwegian fish farms, but that's only possible if I can create a MasterChef-worthy dish to introduce mackerel with. He's like Anton Ego: "If I don't love it, I don't swallow." When it comes to trying new things, it's double-or-nothing: either he'll love it and want me to make it over and over and over again, or he'll hate it and it'll be years before I can reintroduce him to it.

However, it turned out that finding good recipes for smoked mackerel is a sight more diffcult than I would have thought. Aside from variations on the paté theme, there doesn't seem to be much that you can do with a smoked fish. There are a few decent recipes floating around for fresh mackeral, but fresh mackeral is not smoked mackeral, and in any case they all amounted to the same thing: cook something up and put the fish on top. Mackeral isn't that pretty to look at to begin with--and, given how my mom used to prepare it (chopped into hunks and boiled in soup), it only gets worse.

Fortunately, being a smoked fish, it will last a little longer in our fridge while I dredge through gazillions of recipes for promising eats and not too many weird things. In the mean time, well...I try not to look in our fridge.


  1. I don't know if this is proper cuisine or not but we recently have taken a liking to smoked trout. I boil some macaroni, cook some vegetables and then bake it all together (+ smoked trout) in the oven with some cheese. It's pretty tasty :)

  2. Hmmm...that sounds good. I don't think we have a cheese that's mild enough, but there's no reason a cream sauce wouldn't work...

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. "If I don't love it, I don't swallow." the dutch version of this is "Wat de boer niet kent, eet hij niet."