Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Grilled mackerel

In spite of I had written here, I had a yearning to fire up the barbecue on the first decent day of summer. I had some vividly striped mackerel, bought at the l'Aigle market -- a cornucopia of magnificent, vibrant produce.

Our barbecue is a basic model: a large bowl on a stand. I have had trouble getting it hot enough. My clever brother-in-law found the solution: a grille that fits inside, holding the coals and allowing air to pass underneath. The heat you get now is scorching.

You need to do nothing to the mackerel apart from washing them. There are just two things to worry about. The first is that the skin will stick. At home, I have a fish-shaped basket that will contain the fish without attaching itself to them, but I did not bring it to France with me. So I had to resign myself to a messy presentation. The second issue is how long the fish will take to cook. You learn to judge how a cooker works; but the conditions on a barbecue are more variable. I gave the mackerel about two minutes on each side. That turned out to be too long; but they were delicious anyway.

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