Holy (healthy) mackerel – the fish that extends life!

Are you seeking to cook a different kind of fish for dinner? Mackerel is healthy and sustainable (select Atlantic mackerel, Spanish mackerel, King mackerel, mackerel Scad for the Best Choice options). While this fish is oily and strong in flavour, it does have a long list of health benefits. Regular consumption of mackerel is good for overall heart health and it helps keep the blood clean and fresh. It is also known for regulating hormones, metabolism, lowering blood pressure and maintaining brain health. So when you are looking for a different kind of seafood at the market, give mackerel a try – it might help you live longer!

From The Blue Water Cafe Seafood cookbook by Frank Pabst

Romesco sauce
The Romesco sauce is best made the day before you plan to serve it.

  •  4 red bell peppers
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) raw hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) focaccia bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) aged sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) espelette pepper
  • Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Grilled mackerel

  • 4 mackerel fillets, each 41?2 ounces (130 g), skin on but deboned
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
  • 1 lemon, in wedges
  • 8 green onions, white and green parts
  • 4 thin slices of focaccia bread
  • 1 clove garlic


1. Preheat a grill to high. Place red bell peppers directly on the grill and cook until the skins are lightly charred on all sides. Remove from the heat, place in a covered bowl and allow to cool. Using a sharp knife, remove and discard the peel and seeds, then finely chop peppers.
2. Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a small pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add tomatoes and blanch for 10 seconds, then plunge them into the ice bath. Peel the tomatoes, cut them in half and discard the seeds, then dice into small cubes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F (180C). Place almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast nuts for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then rub the nuts with a kitchen towel to remove the loose skins. Roughly chop the nuts.
4. Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and garlic, and toast until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes. Add chopped nuts, red bell peppers, tomatoes, shallot and vinegar. Season with paprika, salt and espelette pepper, then cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
6. In a blender or a food processor, puree 1?3 of this mixture. Stir this purée back into the sauce. Add parsley and set aside to cool.
7. Preheat a grill to high. Brush mackerel with 1?2 tablespoon (8 mL) olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill, skin-side down, for two minutes. Turn the fish over and grill for 30 seconds more. Transfer fish to a plate and squeeze with fresh lemon juice.
8. Brush green onions with 1?2 tablespoon olive oil and grill until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat.
10. Add focaccia slices and pan-fry on both sides until golden brown and crunchy, or for approximately 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture, then rub croutons with garlic.
11. Place a mackerel filet on each plate. Arrange a slice of focaccia beside the fish. Top the focaccia with two tablespoons of Romesco sauce and 2 green onions. Makes 4 servings.

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