Glorious Mackeral Failures

Sometimes you can try too hard.

Take mackeral. On Sunday, my wife picked up three gleaming fish from the new fish stall at our local farmer’s market. I was thrilled and so was my little boy – even more so when he pulled up the foot stool in the kitchen to sit and watch me fillet the fish, doing my utmost to cut as close to the bone as possible to ensure the meatiest fillet.

Then, as the little one lost interest in the more mundane aspect of making the meal and returned to his playroom, I cooked up a quick mediterranean style tomato, garlic and caper sauce to complement the meaty but often oily mackeral. Add some sauteed potatoes, a few courgettes and we’re in business right?


Normally, Dylan will eat fish til the boat comes in but today he had no interest (the huge plate of battered fish and chips he scarfed on Friday night might have had something to do with this). Three bites into the feast and he’d given up – not even the allure of capers could get him back.

Which just goes to show, you can make em good food but that doesn’t mean you should trust the palette of a toddler. The mackeral, by the way, was fantastic.

Here’s the recipe for more discerning adults. Kids – your pasta is almost ready.

Mackeral Fillets with Tomato Caper Sauce.

The Sauce:

Half a can of chopped unsalted tomatoes
Three cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
One small onion
A handful of small capers (or, even better, caper berries)
A dash of red wine
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan on a medium heat:

sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the tomatoes, capers and red wine and let simmer for 15 minutes.

The fish:

Dead simple: lightly salt and pepper, place skin side down on a baking tray and brush with a dash of olive oil to protect the meat. Broil for five minutes and serve with the sauce.

- Matthew

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