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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Mackerel Rocket Canapés

As much as I like to have my weekly adventure on uncharted sea territory, I also am comforted by the more common simple and indulgences such as sardines, anchovies, herring, and mackerel.  Not only are they less expensive than their fancier fish friends, they are the bottom of the sea-foo chain, so eat the most unaltered original seafood, plankton.  They are also most likely to be caught rather than farm raised, which means less antibiotics (possibly, more Mercury.. but that only brings me closer to my Freddy, so I don't mind).
The thing about the simpler fish is that they blow me away much more easily than the complicated and "must time it right" fish.  I suppose they are a comfort food, because they are in my comfort zone.. harder to overcook and transform into mush.
By the way, if you ever do overcook fish and transform it into mush, just change your game plan.  Throw it into some fried rice or as a topping to a noodle dish, or in some pasta or soup instead of making it the centerpiece.  You may just surprise yourself.
Canapé means couch in French, but it makes you seem more sophisticated than just saying "thinly sliced lightly toasted bread."
Serves 2-3 as an appetizer (the photo is just a sample)
1-2 mackerel filets per person (I had 3)
1 clove garlic, grated + 1 whole
few grinds cracked black pepper
pinch fleur de sel
pinch piment d'espelette
drizzle lime juice
few drizzles olive oil
handful arugula (rocket)
6-8 slices fresh or toasted baguette
1.  Rub the baguette slices with the whole garlic clove.  Distribute the arugula onto each slice and await the mackerel preparation.
2.  Prepare the filets with a bit of piment d'espelette, evenly distributed grated garlic, some black pepper, and lime juice.
3.  Spray a bit of olive oil in a pan and sear the filets on high heat for about 2 minutes, skin side down, then flip them and do the same skin side up.
4.  Remove from the pan, cut into sections, and place onto the prepared baguette slices.
5.  Sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel onto each slice.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

The simplicity of this recipe is what makes it so indulging.  I prepared it on a whim before preparing dinner and was rewarded with an embalming melding of flavors, from the pungency of the garlic, the sourness of the arugula, and the meatiness of the mackerel.  
Each simple ingredient connects with you individually before becoming the sum of its parts.. 

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