My local fisho tells me that his mackerel is line caught, and that’s always a good thing as far as sustainability goes: no bycatch and no complete decimation of breeding populations. Good Fish Bad Fish lists mackerel as sustainable too. It’s high in Omega 3 and low in mercury, and it has a nice firm texture with few bones. It’s an oily fish that goes well with acid tomato based sauce, and I have both tomatoes and leeks in abundance in my garden at the moment.
For four serves:
- Chop 4 leeks into 3 cm pieces. There is usually hard to reach dirt in between the leaves, so I do this over the sink: take the outside leaves off and the end off the green leaves. Then chop from the bottom till I get up to where the leaves separate. Then peel off the outside set of leaves, wash the grit out, chop another segment and repeat until I have used all the tender white and light green parts and I’m left with the tough outer leaves.
- Add an equal quantity of tomato, roughly chopped if they are big tomatoes, whole if they are cherry tomatoes, and a slurp of good olive oil.
- Add plenty of salt and pepper, a couple of bay leaves and a sprig of thyme if you have it.
- If I am going out for the day, I use the slow cooker – set it on low with the lid off and leave. Eight hours later, it is a thickish liquid tomato sauce with soft braised leeks. This is the best way and it is so nice to come home to dinner pretty well sorted. If I am home or I want it faster, I use the slow cooker on high for about four hours, or an ovenproof dish with a lid, in a hot oven for 20 minutes with the lid, then another 10 minutes or so without the lid to reduce a bit. You want the sauce to be liquid , but not so liquid that it flows off the plate.
- Fry the mackerel (fillets or steaks) quickly in a little olive oil, taking care not to overcook and serve on a bed of leek and tomato sauce.
- Couscous, green beans and zucchini all make good accompaniments.