by Tristan Henry
Recently I found myself in a Panga, bobbing in the Pacific Ocean, just a stones throw from Mexico’s Baja peninsula. It was early March and the weather was perfect - We caught Yellowtail, Triggerfish, Bonito and a couple Pacific Sierra. After an excess of ceviche, plenty of tacos and some sashimi we began to look for something different and the Sierra was the perfect starting point.
Despite the fact that the fish came from the warm waters of Baja, the recipe is an adaptation of one that originated in Sweden and gained massive popularity in Russia during the soviet revolution. Typically, it’s done with herring and a smattering of grated proletarian vegetables - I assume it’s the vaguely fuzzy texture of grated beets and carrots that earned the dish it’s name. Anyhow, the result is a light and refreshing, yet earthy tartare that is a welcome
departure from any other raw fish preparation that I’ve had before.
I would imagine that this would be great with nearly any white fish, especially perch, pike or herring - just make sure you freeze it so as to avoid those pesky parasites. True to form; it’s a cheap and easy way to honor your catch and a damned good excuse to go out and land more.
• 1 lb mackerel fillet
• 1 lb beets (roasted)
• 1 small shallot
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley
• 4 Tbsp olive oil
• 3 or 4 Tbsp capers
• 1 1/2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
• 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
• Zest of 1 small lemon
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• Rye toast, crostini or crackers to serve
1. After your fish has thawed, salt the filet liberally and let rest 6-8 minutes, then rinse in ice- water and immediately pat dry. This vastly improves the texture of previously frozen fish by pulling excess moisture out.
2. Remove skin and pin bones from your mackerel fillet(s) and cut into small pieces. If you have any aversion to “fishiness” go for a rough mince, otherwise a dice or chop to your desired consistency.
3. On a separate cutting board, remove the skin from your beets and break them down into a medium dice.
4. In a bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients, reserving some lemon zest for a garnish.
5. Separately, dress the chopped mackerel and the diced beets with your dressing
6. Using a round mold, a cookie cutter or an oiled ramekin, layer your dressed ingredients and plate. Serve with rye toast, crostini or crackers.