Spanish mackerel escabèche, chickweed salad and black olive relish
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According to Wikipedia, an escabèche refers to a dish common in the Mediterranean, composed of fried meat or fish (the latter is more typical, although escabèche of chicken, pork or rabbit is more common in Spain) that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving. Since mackerel tends to be oily, this type of preparation suits it very well. If unavailable, use bluefish instead. Cook within two days or fish runs a high risk of spoilage.
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
handful of parsley
3 bay leaves
red wine vinegar
freshly milled black pepper
Spanish mackerel fillets
2 t. Japanese rice wine vinegar OR 2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
chopped and pitted black olives
1 shallot, minced
1 T. orange juice
1 scallion, minced
For the escabèche:
Using a mandoline, cut the carrots into thin strips. In a small skillet, heat 6 T. olive oil. Add the carrots, shallots, parsley, bay leaves and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil until the oil begins to shimmer. Season the mackerel fillets with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet skin-side down. Cook over high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook the fillets for 1 minute longer, until almost cooked through. Transfer the fillets to a large, shallow glass or ceramic dish, skin side up. Top with the vegetables and their marinade. Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, occasionally spooning the marinade over.
Discard bay leaves. Arrange the mackerel on plates and spoon the vegetables and their marinade on top. Dollop with the black olive relish and serve.
For the chickweed salad:
Place chickweed in a small bowl. Add rice wine vinegar, olive oil and sprinkle some salt and black pepper. Toss gently, ensuring that the dressing barely coats the leaves. This is best prepared prior to service.
For the black olive relish:
Combine olives, shallots, orange juice and scallions in a ramekin or a small bowl. Stir. Chill for one hour in the fridge to let flavors blend.