ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Hey Bittman, What About Blow Torch Mackerel?


I loved Mark Bittman's piece, a kind of "confessions of a fish lover," in which he recounts his personal evolution with seafood. Even in one lifetime, in one career, his choices on seafood took a dramatic turn because of overfishing. "Sadly, the list of fish I don't eat is much longer than the fish that I do," he writes.

Unlike him, though, I don't find sustainable seafood choices that confusing but maybe because I stick to a few species I like (like flash frozen Alaskan salmon or Mahi Mahi or mussels). The NY Times "room for debate" blog on this issue was also well done, garnering expert opinion on good seafood choices.

And while he noted that mackerel, a sustainable but oily fish, "has never been popular," that may only be true recently. It was once the most popular catch on the Eastern seaboard, rivaling cod. It's also a common dish in Japan, often served in home kitchens. Much of it, luckily, comes from stocks in Norway that are being certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Here's perhaps the best way I've had mackerel -- in the picture above at a bar in Tokyo. The mackerel was brined then the skin crisped up under a torch by the waitress. OK, maybe this isn't a recipe Bittman would recommend for the home cook!
- Samuel Fromartz