From sea to the plate. Jack mackerel was on the blackboard menu. It couldn’t have been fresher if we tried.
I had a few learning curves on preparing fish on board.
When cutting fish on board a boat seagulls tend to hover about expectantly. They love fish heads and will scavenge what you throw into the water. Nature’s way of cleaning up. Do not leave fish unattended on the boat as it tends to look like an offering.
Have a sharp knife. Have a grinding stone.
To remove the scales I began by leaning over the rail and holding the fish in one hand while I scraped with the other. Whoops. You guessed it. I dropped the fish and it sank to the bottom. I decided after that to use a bucket half filled with seawater to scale the fish. The best lessons are learned on the job. What a waste.
Using a tooth brush to remove the blood down the spine after removing the guts is also easier to do in the bucket.
Turn the grill on earlier than you need to warm up the hot plate.
Use chopsticks to turn the fish.
With mackerel cook well so that the fish meat is easier to pick off the bone.
JACK MACKEREL PREPARATION FOR GRILLING
STYLE: HEAD’S OFF UNO
salt and pepper
- Remove the head by cutting just behind the pectoral fin, see parts of the fish for more.
- Remove the guts by cutting in front of the anal fin forward. Remove guts.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub along the spine of the fish inside, working your way from back to front. This may take 2-3 brushes. Rinse well.
- Remove the back half of the lateral line (spiny ridge along the side of the fish).
- Partially cut the fish just before the tail to make a cut. Cut too far and you cut the tail off so a light cut, but not too light. This takes practice.
Run your knife along under the lateral line to about half way.
- Salt and pepper each side of the fish
- Grill each side until well cooked. Chopsticks are easiest to use.
- Transfer fish to the plate.
- Squeeze lemon juice on the fish.
COOKING AT NIGHT
A light that straps onto your head is ideal for cooking at night.
Your hands are free and you can see what you are doing.
Have spare batteries for the light. LED lights are best.