Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grilled Sardines and Mackerel

This is as far from local food as you can get. I had a craving for sea food in general and grilled seafood in particular so what do you do if you live in South-Western Ontario, Canada, thousand miles away from nearest ocean or sea? Whatever is billed as “fresh fish” in our supermarkets and is from salt water is only relatively fresh if you get it when it is delivered. Fat chance of that on most days, I think. The closest to “fresh fish” inland and far away from ocean is fish frozen right on factory fishing trawler. Among the choices I had in larger town 40 minutes away were sardines and mackerel. What I came up with for a meal to satisfy my cravings was a fusion of Portuguese and Japanese favorite snack foods: grilled sardines rubbed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and mackerel marinated in teriyaki sauce. Only after we ate our fill did we realize how full of Omega3 fat these fish were. This is not a main meal food, no sir. I have made a mistake right there. I knew that just 2 sardines or half a mackerel with crusty bread would be enough for one serving but I felt that since I have the grill going I’ll cook some more. And so I did.
If using frozen fish, defrost in refrigerator overnight.
When ready to cook, rub the grill with little vegetable oil (so fish won’t stick) and preheat your grill or BBQ on medium high.
To clean the sardines and prepare it for a grill, make a cut along the bottom of the fish and remove the intestines and entrails (simply run your finger inside the cut). Do not remove the head. Rinse and place the fish aside to dry.
Rub the fish with little bit of olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To prepare mackerel, cut along the bottom from tail and across the head almost all the way through and then cut in half across between head and tail. Remove head and tail. The fish will be basically “butterflied”. Wash and dry on both sides.
Watch this video for clear and detailed instructions.
Rub little bit of sesame oil and teriyaki sauce into flesh or just use olive oil, salt and pepper. When grill is hot place sardines and mackerel (skin side down) on the grill and cook till skin is crisp and golden, 4 -5 minutes. Flip the fish over and grill till other side is crisp.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and crusty Italian or Portuguese bread.
To de-bone sardines, grasp the head and pull towards tail, the backbone will come off cleanly. Mackerel backbone and rib cage will come off easily as well.

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