This is a perfect light & nutritious way of enjoying oily fish. The Japanese style of cooking it under a grill and served with lemon and soy sauce is truly delicious. It doesn’t need much else apart from Japanese rice and a salad or veggies. I served it with Agedashi tofu (see recipe in this week’s blog).
Most fishmongers will have small whole mackerel. Get them to fillet it for you, unless you enjoy doing so yourself. This is one fish (like salmon) where the bones shouldn’t be used to make stock as the flavour can be overpowering, so unfortunately, it’s hard to put the rest of the fish to much use.
Grilled Mackerel (Japanese Saba)
This is an ultra-simple recipe, requiring very few ingredients apart from the fish, which must be spankingly fresh.
Rinse the fish under cold water, pat dry and sprinkle with the sake. Leave for about 5 minutes and then pat dry with paper towel.
Generously salt both the skins and the flesh side of the fish with sea salt and let sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven on the grill setting to 220C.
The fish will extrude some moisture, due to the salting. This imparts flavour into the flesh and makes the fish firmer. Wipe off the surface moisture on the fish with paper towels.
Line a small baking tray with a baking tray with aluminum foil and brush with oil. Place the fish skin side up on the tray and place about 6” from the grill (usually the topmost shelf in the oven).
Let cook for about 5-8 minutes until the skin gets’s starts looking golden and blistered, see photo.
Flip over and return to grill, until the flesh side is also colouring golden, another 5-10 minutes.
The time taken to cook it through will be about 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. If it looks like the fish is almost cooked but now browned enough, move it closer to the grill, and vice versa. Fish should look opaque and flake off easily when it’s cooked through. Don’t over cook it, else it will be chewy.
Whilst the fish is cooking, grate the daikon using a fine grater and make little conical mounds for serving.
Serve the grilled mackerel garnished with the spring onion greens and grated daikon. Pour on a few drops of soy sauce on the grated daikon before eating the fish.