March 31st, 2011



I've rarely l loitered in the fish sections of grocery stores. It's not that I don't like fish; it's that C. doesn't, so there's rarely little reason for me to keep it in the house. I didn't grow up with a heavy fish quotient to my diet. I eat it at restaurants mostly. But yesterday, C. wasn't going to be home for dinner, and I was at the grocery store anyways and thinking some smoked fillets of something would be tasty.

My local Sainsbury has three or four shelves' worth of kinds of prepared mackerel. I had no idea. It strikes me as a more British fish, at least in this profusion of varieties, but never having been much of a fish-buyer in any other country, I am hardly one to compare. Unsmoked. Smoked. With honey. With a chile glaze. Cheaper varieties. Pricier varieties. De-boned. There were token numbers of other prepared fish products, from rollmops to sandwich-square salmon. Nothing, compared to the dominance of mackerel.

I am inexperienced in the ways of mackerel, so happy to go along with its accompanying instructions. While it grilled, I considered alternatives to peppery watercress-and-grapefruit salad. This is how I came to feast on grilled, smoked mackerel on a bed of cucumber dressed with gently fruity-sour passionfruit vinegar and a sprinkling of enlivening chile flakes.

Poor C. He had to make do with a late-night rushed pizza; not that he would have appreciated the fish anyway.