Not only vegetables have seasons. Seafood has seasons too. And many of the same reasons that lead us to pick a sweet ear of corn in August should lead us to Spanish mackerel in fall or soft-shell crabs in spring.
Spanish mackerel in its cooked or sushi forms is one of Joe’s favorites. It is sweet, firm and virtually impossible to mess up. Sustainable seafood, like health insurance, is something that many people seem concerned about but can’t for the life of them figure out. Here are two websites that I always check before buying. Things change. Even fish. I rely on the first site, http://www.seafoodwatch.org/, @seafoodwatch (twitter) because it makes a fairly complicated issue understandable and is continually updated. I like the second site, www.americanshrimp.com @WildUSShrimp (twitter) because it’s about, umm, shrimp
PS This recipe works with just about any firm fish fillet like bluefish, halibut or snapper
Makes 2 servings
Two 6-ounce Spanish mackerel
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup panko or other coarse bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Heat the oven to 450°F . Line a small baking tray with parchment or aluminum foil and rub it lightly with olive oil. Lay the fillets out on the tray and season them lightly with salt and pepper.
Stir the mustard and lemon juice together and season with pepper. Brush or spoon the mustard mix to coat the fillets evenly and thickly. You can do this hours ahead and refrigerate. I suppose you should cover it but most of the mustard spread will come off with the plastic wrap. I just slide it under the cold cut drawer where it stays out of harm’s way.
When you’re ready to cook the fish, rub the panko, chives and olive oil together with your fingertips until well blended. Coat the fillets with the crumbs topping, patting them firmly to make sure they stick.
Bake until the fillets are cooked through (poke a fork into the thickest part to check) and the topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.