The journey of a freshly caught Pacific Spanish Mackerel

Alright, so I went to Newport Pier last night with my church brothers for an evening of fishing.  But before I go into that, I just want to say that my own experience with fishing isn’t very extensive.  I’ve gone lake fishing several times in South Dakota with my cousins and relatives from my dad’s side.  There, I’ve caught quite a few fish, but most of them were tossed back.  We did catch a load of Perch one time and brought those home where my aunt cooked them in loads of melted butter.  The fish was very buttery but quite tasty.

Anyways, despite all that, I’ve never gone ocean fishing until this year.  Yes, I know, even though I grew up in the Bay Area where some of California’s best fish are lurking, last night was only my third time going ocean fishing.  And the first two times, we caught nothing haha.  But we got lucky last night.  The lucky one was our friend John, who caught 6 fish, most of which were Pacific Mackerel.  Steve himself, the veteran angler, caught 4 scorpion fish, a fish with venomous barbs, but popular as food when fried or used in soups (no they are not as dangerous as Japanese Fugu or puffer fish).  Our friend Gus didn’t get too lucky, but made a great effort and simply had a lot of fun while fishing.  I myself caught 2 fish, one inedible, and the other being a Spanish Pacific Mackerel, the latter who is the star of today’s fresh fish article.

I have to say, it’s an amazing feeling when you catch a fish, especially when you catch your first fish in a long time.  And even better, there’s certainly nothing like preparing, cooking, and eating a fish you caught and knowing that the fish was still alive and swimming less than 24 hours ago.  Besides eating a fish right out of the water, it doesn’t get much fresher than that.  So here’s the journey of my own freshly caught Spanish mackerel from the water to the plate.

The fish being held under Steve's shoe for a photo

The fish in the bucket. We used raw shrimp and squid for bait. The other two mackerel were caught by John

The fish on a plate after it was brought home and washed

The fish being cut. Note that this is my first time cutting a whole fish in my life. I need more practice, but like I did with chicken, I may start buying my fish whole more often.

The raw fillets before being seasoned and broiled. Notice the red color that raw mackerel is famous for. The skin was left on the fillets but most of the bones were removed

The mackerel fillets were seasoned with salt, oregano, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil before being broiled for about 5-7 minutes until the meat was flaky. The fillets were served on top of a bowl of steamed rice

Mackerel was a fish I ate quite a bit while growing up.  My sister and I knew them more as “Saba”, the Japanese term for mackerel (these smaller mackerels are known as “Aji” in Japan).  My mom would grill them, but since I don’t have a grill or grill pan yet, I cooked this one using the broiler, which worked pretty well.  The meat itself was very tender, the skin was soft yet flaky enough to separate easily, and the flavor itself was quite mild, but fresh.  Like I said, no fish like fresh fish.

Here is one more image of more of the fish we caught, including the infamous scorpion fish

Pacific Mackerel and Scorpion Fish. John caught most of the mackerel

Bon appetit!

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3 Responses to “The journey of a freshly caught Pacific Spanish Mackerel”

  1. John Dunsford II Says:

    Hi Ken, I read your blog that your fish was on. Next time you want to cut a fish, maybe I could show you a better way to fillet them? Allow me to tell you. You stated that you removed the bones before cooking. Doing so will remove some of the meat as well. By leaving the bones in while cooking, you’ll have more meat. As well, all you need to do is cut the head and tail off, and gut it. Cut it through the belly to the back, all the way up and down. Just to make two mirror halves. Then, you have two great fillets. Tap the skin of the fish with a dry rag, this way the skin wont stick to your appliances while cooking. When the skin is dry, you could then fry them up or broil them to your own desire. Once cooked, the skin should be flaky and come right off with a dull knife (or butter knife if you want). The bones are the hard part after it is cooked. They become brittle. The best thing to do is to eat it all slowly, taking small bites. This allows you to enjoy the flavor, and to take out the bones slowly using your mouth. The bones can be digested, however, although might hurt if they are too long or hard. I wouldn’t recommend eating the bones, though, for safety reasons. BUT, I will say your fish looks delicious. I thought you caught 2 mackerel, though? I caught 4 and you caught 2, making for 6 mackerel I thought I counted?

    • Hmm, interesting tips. Like I said, my first time ever cutting fish so I can sure use some help on that. Show me how you did it sometime ^^. But yeah for me, I prefer not to deal with bones when eating fish. Reminds me of an episode of Hell’s Kitchen where one of the chefs had to fillet several pan-fried Dover Sole portions. The entire bone section was intact and all the chef had to do was separate the fillets and pick up the entire bone. Unfortunately he didn’t do a good job and many of the customers were spitting bones out to no end, haha.

      Um, as for the amount of mackerel, I only caught one. The other fish I caught was a small inedible fish that we threw back out. Oh well, no worries.

      By the way, I saw your pics of your fish and they looked quite tasty as well dude. Nice job!

      Bon appetit

  2. […] my fresh fish article?  See https://eurasianepicurean.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/freshmackerel/ if not.  Like I mentioned there, there’s no fish like freshly caught fish.  And theres […]

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