This raw fish preparation is light and refreshing and suitable for nearly any white fish
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 its 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.
Mackerel Under a Fur Coat
- 1 lb mackerel fillet
- 1 lb beets roasted
- 1 small shallot
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp capers
- 1½ tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 small lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rye toast, crostini, or crackers to serve
- After your fish has thawed, salt the fillet 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.
- 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.
- On a separate cutting board, remove the skin from your beets and break them down into a medium dice.
- In a bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients, reserving some lemon zest for a garnish.
- Separately, dress the chopped mackerel and the diced beets with your dressing.
- Using a round mold, a cookie cutter or an oiled ramekin, layer your dressed ingredients and plate. Serve with rye toast, crostini or crackers.
Tristan Henry is a lifelong Oregonian and perennial student of wild food and wild places. Tristan spent his youth in wetlands and on farms of rural western Oregon, where he cultivated a sense for stewardship and love for cooking. After college, he relocated to central Oregon, where he manages a small advertising agency, co-chairs the Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, chases elk with his bow, and wanders the hills with his wife and dog in search of food and fun.