For many Americans, mackerel is the red-headed stepchild of the fish family. We'd much prefer to stuff ourselves with the overfished "Chilean Sea Bass" (not a bass at all, but victim of a clever marketing scheme), and we seem to have a distaste for anything considered "fishy." However, it is frequently the case that the stronger flavored fish have the highest omega 3 fatty acid contents; which, according to the American Heart Association, may be good for those at risk for heart disease - which is just about everyone in the US, if you listen to the heart scan commercials. At any rate, mackerel is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, and is low enough in contaminates to be consumed by adults and children alike. It has also been responsibly fished since the 1970s and is considered on of the "good" fish by Oceans Alive, an oceanic watchdog group.
I first learned to appreciate mackerel by visiting Kihachi, where broiled mackerel is a staple menu item. Mackerel's high fat and savory, rich flavor lend it perfectly to a simple preparation. In this picture, which is not very good, I'll admit (sorry, but it is still hot here at chez Widow, and food styling has taken a back seat to sitting in front of the fan), we have simply salted the fish (still bone-in) heavily and grilled it - skin side down - over very hot coals. You might wish to baste with a little ponzu (Japanese yuzu citrus marinade) or lemon juice. Grill for a about 5 - 6 minutes on the skin side and then turn over, grilling for another 2-3 minutes on the flesh side. The skin becomes crisp and delicious. Because mackerel is rich and fatty, we grilled some mild banana peppers for a side dish - they work very well to cut through the fattiness.
Mackerel is inexpensive, delicious and good for you. It grills beautifully and goes great with simple accompaniments, such as rice and steamed veggies (here it's served with grilled pattypan squash). I bought this mackerel at Tensuke Market (formally Seafood Japan) for $6.99 a pound. Yep, that's right.