Mackerel was never one of my go-to fish when ordering out unless I was dining at a high end sushi bar, but a few years ago I decided to entertain a few guests with this light mackerel dish, Mackerel and Melon, and was so pleased with the outcome that it’s become a staple. Its marinade and torched skin transform the oily fishy into a crispy, melt-in-your-mouth flavor bomb. Mackerel also provides health benefits; among both fresh and saltwater fish, it’s got one of the highest concentration in Omega-3 acids, which lower your blood pressure and raises your good cholesterol. Plus watermelon boasts vitamins A, B6, C, lycopene, antioxidants, amino acids and even a modest amount of potassium — helping to make this unlikely pairing a healthy hit that serves four.
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 chips dry galangal ginger
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 2 whole mackerel fillets, with pin bones removed and sliced down to make 4 fillets
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 whole watermelon
- 12 shiso leaves
- 3 scallions sliced 1/4” diagonally
- 2” fresh ginger julienne sliced
- Nasturtium leaves
- Heat the mirin, soy sauce, sake, sugar and galangal ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, then remove from the heat. Pour into a jar, and mix in the sesame oil and lemon. Pour the mixture into a container large enough to hold the fillets.
- When the mixture has cooled, place the mackerel fillets into the container flesh-side down. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Remove mackerel from the marinade. Pat skin with a paper towel. To prevent curling of the skin during cooking, make several diagonal scores in the skin, cross the length of each fillet.
- Place the fillets on a sheet pan lined with foil. Skin side up, drizzle the mackerel with grapeseed oil, and gently blowtorch the skin side until charred. Gently torch the flesh side until slightly cooked through. Then season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Slice 4 diagonal pieces of seedless watermelon 1/4” thick, about the same length as the individual fillets.
- For plating, place 3 shiso leaves on the center of the plate. Lay the watermelon slice followed by the mackerel. At one corner, diagonally place the scallions and ginger along with nasturtium leaves. Gently drizzle with shiso soy sauce and serve.
If you like light, healthy fish dishes, you may also like Gayle’s Hawaiian Style Seared Tuna.
Last modified: June 18, 2018