I saw chef Becky Selengut make this at the Queen Anne Farmers Market in Seattle with peaches instead of figs last year. You can make it with either. Right now the Greek and California figs are in Montreal groceries. but so are Ontario peaches. The California peaches taste better, but the Ontario ones come with less of a carbon footprint. so if you’re going for taste, go Cali. If you’re going local and almost good enough, try to find really fresh, juicy, non-starchy Ontario peaches or nectarines. Good luck!
This is also better with tuna than with mackerel, but local won out in that case for me. Sustainable Arctic char might be better. You make a ratatouille of zucchini, onions and a few other savoury things, then you sear your fish. Simple.
So I filleted the mackerel, like so:
The mackerel were small, so I treated them like sardines instead of big fin fish. This made everything a lot easier. Oh! but did I mention that I also made a snapper recipe and a porgy recipe the night before and when I was filleting those and entire fish head came out of the snapper??!! It ate another fish and the head got stuck in there. How that whole head got past the fish throat and into the stomach, I don’t know, but apparently, it ate it whole. Pretty cool. A little disgusting. Mostly cool.
Back to the recipe. Sardines and mackerel have a lot of guts that you just tear out and then pull out the vertebrae. Simple. Quick. Relatively painless. It’s a lot harder to make a big mess, besides all the guts. This is an upside. I know I’m not selling you on it, but trust me. You can also just get your fishmonger to fillet your fish, but then you don’t get to roast the skin until it’s crispy and eat it as an appetizer with salt. And you don’t get all the bones and heads to make stock. My stock came out bloody, but it was sweet and delicious. I think that’s fine if it’s a little bloody, right? You’re supposed to remove the gills. I clearly did not.
So you sear the mackerel or tuna or whatever you have, then put it on a plate covered in aluminium. then sear the tomatoes and peaches (or figs) in the fish fat and brown bits. Then remove those. Then deglaze the pan with red wine and then add chicken broth and cook it down with a generous sprinkling of balsamic vinegar until it’s thick and delicious. Pour over fish (sliced if tuna. Whole if mackerel) on top of mangoes and tomatoes and ratatouille. Eat. Smile. Share with someone else, because this is a meal worth sharing and appreciating. Drink with same red wine you deglazed with. Smile again.
Buy Becky Selengut’s book if that’s not enough of a recipe for you. You should buy the book anyway. It’s awesome.
Whew! That’s a lot of steps! A lot of delicious steps!
Her version with sliced rare tuna is a heck of a lot prettier than mine with mackerel. Ah well. Mine was still delicious, and I only had to share with one other person. Becky had to share with a whole farmers market. I think I win.