Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Tribute to Mackerel

My two past tributes have both involved cheese -- rather unfair to other food groups, which are surely at least as entitled as cheese to respect and attention. In an effort to correct my injustice, I offer the following tribute, dedicated to my mackerel friends.

Mackerel, as you may or may not know, is a sort of fish. Not a very big fish -- generally smaller than salmon and bigger than sardines, I'd say. In my experience, a mackerel's skin is a leathery black and gold, and its meat is pleasantly tender, juicy, and flavourful, especially compared to the aforementioned sardines. Of course the saltiness and juiciness depend to some degree on the way the mackerel is prepared (e.g. whether it is smoked whole or canned).

The smoked variety can be eaten by itself. I tend to unwrap the mackerel (which may or may not come with head and tail attached), split it neatly in two along the belly, remove the backbone and accompanying "Gräten" (fish bones), and lift the meat off the skin. All that remains is to put the meat on a plate and eat it. It is entirely possible and acceptable, of course, to make some boiled potatoes and Quark or sour cream mixed with chives/dill/etc. to accompany the fish. Other accompaniments are doubtless equally agreeable.

As for the canned variety of mackerel -- which may be preserved in its own juices, in oil (e.g. rapeseed oil), in tomato sauce, etc. -- I tend to eat it with bread. For example, I sometimes heat some buns in the oven, cut them in half, and spread them with canned mackerel. Another alternative, which I have preferred of late, is as follows:

Take some slices of French bread or baguette and place them on a baking sheet. Open a can of mackerel, and place some of the fish on each piece of bread. Cut up a tomato, and put some slices over the fish. Top each piece of bread with a slice of Gouda, and pop the ensemble in the oven at 210°C or so. When the cheese is as you like it (e.g. just melted, bubbling, or browned), you can take the breads out of the oven and eat them. A warning: the tomato juices (like the pineapple juices in Hawaiian toast) can become surprisingly hot.

Mind you, I use buns (cut in half) instead of French bread. The type of bread doesn't matter too much anyway, although I would advise against easily mushed white bread (a sworn enemy of mine in any case). As for healthier bread, I suppose it would work, but I prefer not to have conflicting flavours.

Note: Cheese has insinuated itself into this tribute as well. How sneaky!

Another Note: My apologies to my mackerel friends if there are any outright lies in the above post, and my apologies to my non-mackerel friends if the above post has been unappetizing or distasteful. Although, if any non-mackerel friends read this far despite finding the post distasteful, perhaps it's not entirely fair to blame me. :o)


At 1:58 p.m., September 12, 2007, Blogger Logic said...

I should think it would be most likely your mackerel friends that would object to this post -- surely they dislike being eaten?


At 2:49 p.m., September 12, 2007, Blogger tvhtoo said...

Hmm . . . well, I don't eat my mackerel friends (only my mackerel enemies), and I'm afraid that my mackerel friends are rather heartless creatures; as long as their own lives aren't threatened, they have no objections.

:o) :o)


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