Mackerel: an underrated blue fish

Mackerel is a fish that is still a bit too underestimated, like the remaining blue fish. It would instead be consumed regularly, since it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D , elements that promote the production of serotonin, the so-called good mood hormone. Also for this reason it is easy to understand how it can be of great help especially in this season to include mackerel in our weekly diet. It is suitable for everyone, at all ages, except for those suffering from gout, who will have to avoid consuming too much.

Mackerel, like other blue fish, is also fish caught, therefore able to guarantee a better nutrient content than the one bred, as it is free to feed for example of marine phytoplankton and to live in its own habitat, doing much more movement.

Since, due to the pollution level of the seas, the meat of fish could accumulate mercury, it is always better to choose small fish, with a short life cycle, caught in the open sea, such as mackerel or other blue fish . In this way the fish will have had less time to accumulate mercury and less chance of feeding on other fish in turn containing mercury, as happens for large animals, with longer life cycles.

As for micronutrients, the minerals that mackerel contains are iodine, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and copper. Vitamins, on the other hand, belong mostly to the B group (B1, B2 and B3), in addition to the aforementioned vitamin D. The mackerel is also rich in high quality and high satiating proteins.

To anticipate some of the questions that are normally asked to me, the ideal as always is to buy fresh whole fish; however, those who have very little time available can buy fresh fillets as plan B. Plan C, descending into the top ten of the most suitable choices for food well-being, is represented by mackerel in a glass jar, preserved in water and salt, taking care to rinse it well before using it as an ingredient.

To conclude: the mackerel does good also to the wallet, being an economic fish, above all if compared to its wealth at a nutritional level.

In the kitchen the mackerel is good in combination with raw peeled oranges and fennel, which help to digest its fats. It also lends itself to being the basic ingredient of meatballs flavored, for example, with mint and lemon peel (bio).

To choose it best, first of all the color must be observed, which must always be alive and shiny, as well as the elasticity of the coat: good elasticity is a sign of freshness. The skin must be firm, without signs of flaccidity. The eyes are another sign of freshness: they must be shiny and transparent, leave the fish with dull or sunken eyes and check that the gills have a bright red color.

It should not be cooked too much, or risk making the meat stringy. 8-10 minutes will be on average sufficient, even less if it is fillets. Just turn off when the meat turns white. Better not to use too much fat because it is already a fatty fish by itself.

Finally, a recommendation: make sure you choose mackerel fished with eco-sustainable methods, conducted with artisanal equipment with low environmental impact, as respectful as possible of the seabed and habitats, for example pots, gillnet, post net and bottom longline . Keep in mind that the indication of the type of equipment used is compulsorily expressed on the new label, which came into force on 13 December 2014 in application of the European Regulation EU 1169.

To make it easier for those who are not used to eating it or perhaps do not like the strong flavor of their meat, I decided to combine some recipes suitable for the autumn-winter season.

Mackerel based recipes

On this site you will already find some recipes based on mackerel, which I report with the links to facilitate you, to these I add new ones.

Curry mackerel fillets and mandarins ( link )

Mackerel with baked flavors ( link)

Super-fast curry or turmeric mackerel

Get the filleted mackerel to be cleaned by the fishmonger. Pour a little oil in a non-stick pan, place the fish fillets on the skin side. Cook with the lid on for a few minutes. Then sprinkle with white wine on a higher flame to evaporate the alcohol. Meanwhile sprinkle with half-a teaspoon of curry (depending on taste), cover and cook over low heat for about ten minutes. Add more wine if it dries too much, making it always fade. Serve hot.

Mackerel in green sauce

Blend an iceberg salad leaf in a blender until it becomes a sauce (add a little water if necessary), add a pinch of salt. Prepare a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, a sliced ​​clove of garlic, a few drops of lemon, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of salt. Let it flavor as much as possible. Meanwhile in a low pot boil the mackerel with a tablespoon of apple vinegar or white wine vinegar and a bay leaf in two fingers of water. Cover and cook for about ten minutes. Turn off and let cool. Clean the mackerel in fillets, season with the parsley-based sauce and the salad room next to it.

Mackerel boiled with diced vegetables

2 clean mackerel, 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon oil, chopped parsley, 2 courgettes, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1 tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt

Clean the zucchini, clean the carrots and cut them into cubes. Also wash the tomato cut in half, remove the seeds and cut into cubes. Finally, peel the onion and chop it finely. Pour a little oil in a large skillet, place on the heat and sauté over medium heat until it is transparent. Add the zucchini and tomatoes, stir, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes. When cooked, turn off the heat and keep warm. Rinse the mackerel under cold running water. In the meantime, fill a large pot with water, put on the heat and when it reaches a boil, add water and dip the mackerel. Cook the fish for 10-15 minutes depending on the size, turn off the heat and let the mackerel cool directly in the pot. Before serving drained the mackerel remove the skin if you can and the bones trying to divide the fillets without breaking them, season the fish with lemon juice. Serve the boiled mackerel with the vegetables cooked in the pan. Complete with a sprinkling of parsley.

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