32 years of imagining, and then converting into one of my hobbies... I hope you'll enjoy it... (^.^)/ , by Marina

May 16, 2012

Oven Baked Mackerel with new potatoes and dried tomatoes

Wohoho. It's been a while now both for writing and cooking. Also it looks as if it will be a while more as well.

It just happens that when you love cooking that much - carefully picking the ingredients comes just naturally, and with nowadays available selection you start thinking what and where to buy it. Long story short (trust me it could be rather long, way back to my childhood :)), we're building a vertical garden on our terrace!
We already have tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, strawberries, herbs, salads and more, growing in small pots. Not to mention medical herbs, flowers, bamboos, a japanese red maple and a wisteria. All waiting up for this weekend, when we'll be assembling the construction that should feed us with fresh fruits, vegetables and spices for the next few months \(^.^)/.

The planning and researching took most of my time, so here am I today, sharing a simple yet tasty recipe - both to cook and to write (^.^).

If you wish me to share more info on the vertical garden, aka green wall with drip irrigation system, just say so ;)

Now now, it took me several years to find the courage and start buying fresh fish from local markets in our metropolis. You see, I come from a little city by the sea and my father is a passionate fisherman. Needless to say that I've been raised of fresh wild fish still floundering in the bucket. Fish shops, especially those that are 300km away from the sea, just weren't appealing to me.
But when my lovely assistant requested one for lunch, just couldn't say no :). And I must admit, it was a feast :)

Total time: 60' (20' preparation, 40' baking)
Serves: 2
Difficulty: easy
Calories: ~ 550 kcal / person
Baking needed: 40' at 180°-200°C

- 2 medium sized fresh mackerel
- 10-15 new potatoes
- 1/2 cup of dried cherry tomatoes kept in olive oil

Marinating sauce
- a bundle of fresh parsley
- 10 large cloves of garlic
- olive oil, fair amount
- salt

Using new potatoes of course is much more tasteful, however if none are available use the older potatoes. You can always select smaller ones or a couple of bigger ones, depending on your needs.
As for dried tomatoes, I loved them from the first time I tried them and you wouldn't believe how perfectly they fit an oven roasted fish. Also they are rather easy to make on your own - will share the recipe soon. ;)

The fish on the other hand can be marinated a couple of hours in advance if you wish to.

  1. First thing first - chop finely the parsley and garlic and mix them together in a bowl with few tbs of olive oil.
  2. Now clean the fish. Fortunately the mackerel has no scams, but you still got to take the interiors out.

    How to clean a fish
    The picture is not mine,
    thank you anonymous owner.
    If you never cleaned a fish before, take a small sharp knife and start a sharp yet shallow incision from the fish's anus straight up to the gills and lower tip of the mouth. Carefully extract all the interiors (with as little damage as possible - since any guts liquids will affect the taste as well as take you longer to clean it). Cut out the head and wash it throughout fully under running water until all the blood and interiors are washed away.
  3. Add a pinch of salt in the belly of the fish, and over it. Cut three diagonal lines on each side of the fish. Fill them in, belly as well, with enough marinating sauce (you will use up about half of it).  Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for at least 20 min, up to few hours.
  4. Wash, clean and peel the potatoes. Cut them in as much equal pieces as you can. I usually cut a smaller potato in quarters.
  5. Put the potatoes onto a baking tray covered with baking sheet. Sprinkle two pinches of salt, mix them well using your hands, then with 3 tbs of olive oil and mix again.
  6. Spread them evenly on the baking tray and bake them on 180°C for ~15 min.
  7. Take out the tray from the oven, make room for the fish in its center and place it asymmetrically (head next to tail).
  8. Sprinkle the tray with some olive oil, the rest of the marinade and tomatoes. Cover with an aluminium sheet to avoid spattering and retain moisture.
  9. Continue baking at 180°C for another 15' (without ventilation, or 10' with ventilation)
  10. Remove the covering sheet and change the program to grill on 200°C for another 5' to 10' - depending on your oven. Basically the fish is ready when the meat easily detaches from the bones, while the potatoes are ready when they can be pierced easily with a fork.
If done properly it will be delicious! If not, don't worry it takes you a couple of times till you figure out the right amount of baking time for a fish (in each oven differently) ;)

  • The mackerel is a rather dry fish, so covering it up with a sheet is the best way to preserve liquid. Alternatively you can moisturize it with the marinating sauce every once in a while during the baking process. Feel free to add 1/2 cup of white dry wine to the sauce in this case.
  • Also, the three diagonal lines on each side, filled in with the souce help moisturize the fish.
  • If you like crunchy potatoes grill them a bit longer, but make sure not to burn the fish (maybe take it out before grilling the potatoes for another few minutes)

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