Mackerel - 鯖
In France we don’t eat a lot of mackerel, in particular in the south of France or at least in my family... we usually eat more Mediterranean fishes such as tuna, snapper, Peter’s fish, pilchard and sardine, anchovy... so mackerel was very rarely on the table. Here in Japan, of course there are a lot of fishes as the above mentioned but to eat grilled, mackerels, and they have so many different types, are some very easy to find and delicious fishes. Though I am always a bit reluctant to cook some because it smells a lot, I am always happy to eat some! I find it very versatile and simple to prepare with many different types of vegetables in either Japanese style or more western styles. This time I prepared it in 3 different options, two being very close to each other: 1. pan grilled on the skin; 2. in croquettes; 3. to stuff lotus roots. 2. and 3. are actually made with the same base. and both start with 1..
The first thing (top picture) I did was to grill the fish on the skin side until it is well done and the skin is crispy (though I don't eat the skin). I served half of it for one dinner with blanched baby pak choi, yuzu and a bowl of rice with an umeboshi.
The second thing (bottom picture) I did with the second half was to remove the bones and skin and mix it with one egg and a piece of steamed butternut squash to obtain a thick paste. I then make small ball of the paste and rolled in panko and fried in a greased frypan both sides for the croquettes. Finally I also used the mix to stuff some lotus root that I then steamed. Unfortunately my lotus roots blacken a lot more than I expected due to oxidation, and the result wasn't up to my expectations presentation-wise and color-wise. Good to know that it is really important to add a little of vinegar when you wash and cook the lotus roots to keep their perfect white color. Taste-wise though both were really nice!