Miso Marinated Mackerel

29 Jul

Food for those days when you want to feel light and happy!

I remember one afternoon in Paris when I was walking past a ‘Quick’ burger restaurant and there was a young 20 something year old guy standing out the front scoffing his burger in the street and a 50 something year old woman, glamorously dressed à la Parisienne,  unreservedly and angrily berating him, asking why he couldn’t at least eat his ‘merde Americaine dans le restaurant’. I think in France if you don’t have time to sit down and eat properly you might as well skip the meal altogether. I’m pretty sure this would be the consensus of most self respecting gourmands and I guess it could be an alternative explanation for the skinny French woman phenomenon. I’ve heard that the days of that miraculous ability to stay glamourously thin on a diet consisting of all things indulgent may be running out for the French (much to the relief of ‘full figured’ women like me everywhere). Even the culinary nonpareil (at least the time poor ones), have begun to surrender to the mystery meat/butane burger and ‘french’ fries (ironically not French at all) from oily cardboard boxes drenched in long life mayonnaise from a sachet, tout à emporter – ‘to go’. Not surprisingly, the obesity epidemic is gaining significant momentum in France as it is elsewhere. And the French aren’t the only ones who are losing their grip on traditional, uncompromisingly high culinary standards, apparently. I’ve read that the Japanese 22 year record for the longest life span is threatened by the ‘would you like fries with that’ generation. A junk food tsunami seems to be emanating from some of the world’s epicenters of crap, flooding streets where once stood vendors of short-order nourishing fare with burger joints and pizza chains in all their greasy glory. But can the fast food empire really dilute gastronomical greatness?

When I am good I am very very good and when I am bad I eat chips. Sometimes I get the extra crunchy beer battered chips from the fish n chip shop in Burleigh or fish tacos from Wahoos with a mountain of crispy shoe-strings doused in their XXX hot sauce on the side. When I am good I eat sushi.

Japanese food always makes me feel healthy. I have only recently learned a few basics of Japanese cooking and I’m desperate to go to Japan to connect the dots properly. What an incredibly complex, developed cuisine. I’ve only scratched the surface but it’s so nice learning about new ingredients. I have made this particular recipe several times now and I think it is really beautiful. I’ve heard there are hundreds of types of miso in Japan – my local Asian grocer has two: brown and white. This dish uses white miso, tastes fabulous and is quick and easy to prepare. It is not my creation. I have done what I often do which is to read a few similar recipes and go with my instincts on how to cook the dish.

This dish is quite common I think, although I had never tried it until I made it recently. I bought the freshest mackerel at the market. It was glistening so silvery and wet I couldn’t resist, so I got the fish monger to clean and fillet it for me. I have cooked it several times since and it is our #1 favourite at the moment! I much prefer mackerel fillets to steaks personally, but you could do either I guess.

It’s dead easy.

You’ll need…

1/4 cup white miso paste

1/4 cup mirin

2 tbsps rice vinegar

1 1/2 tbsps minced ginger

1 1/2 tbsps minced spring onions

2 fillets mackerel (cut into smaller pieces if you like)

Simply combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and coat mackerel. Leave for 30 minutes minimum, 2 hours max (I suspect any longer the vinegar might cook the fish a little too much and make it mushy when cooked).

Mix well until smooth









This was the best fish in the shop and the cheapest!










Fry the fish fillets skin side down in a hot pan for a few minutes and then spoon on any residual marinade and put under a hot grill for about 5-6 minutes (or more or less depending on the thickness of the fillets). To test, insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish and gently pull to the side. If the flesh is white and opaque you’re done! If it’s resistant or pink or translucent it needs to keep cooking.

Served with cold buckwheat soba noodles and dipping sauce, snow peas with sesame paste and some pickled daikon radish and red radish
























An icy cold pilsener and some pretty little dishes feel nice too!


4 Responses to “Miso Marinated Mackerel”

  1. Meredith July 30, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Never mind the cooking, when did you get so good at writing?
    ps thank you for the Japanese feast. Good job, being taste tester. X

  2. R.Ross July 30, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    You have inherited your dad’s knack for writing. Great piece.

  3. R.Ross July 30, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Oops, sorry Meredith. She might have a double dose but having only seen Frank’s writing skills…. hence the comment.

  4. Claire August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am #


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