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Mackerel en Saor

Photo: Greg Dupree Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas 

Hands-on time 25 mins
Total time 1 hr, 25 mins

Serves: 4

Brining the fish in water with salt and sugar heightens its natural flavor, but it also provides a little added insurance that the fish will remain moist, even if it's slightly overcooked. Mackerel has a firm texture and full-bodied flavor, making it a perfect candidate for the grill.


  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 (6-oz.) mackerel fillets, from 2 (1 1/2-lb.) whole fish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 French bread baguette, sliced

How to Make It

  1. Combine the wine and raisins in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes.

    7 Ways With Wine
    Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
    As Julia Child used to so often say, the best wine to cook with is one you consider good enough to drink. As a general rule of thumb, dry (non-sweet) wines work best in savory dishes, while sweet or fortified wines (such as port and sherry) are more attuned to desserts and sauces.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cut 3 shallow slits in the skin side of the fillets. Sprinkle fillets with 1 teaspoon salt. Add 2 fillets, skin sides down, to skillet, and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; turn fish. Let stand 3 minutes. Transfer cooked fillets to a 13- x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Discard oil from skillet. Repeat procedure with 2 tablespoons of the oil and remaining 2 fillets. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

  3. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup oil in skillet over medium. Add the bell pepper, onion, and pine nuts to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and pine nuts are lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Add the eggplant; sauté 1 minute. Add raisin mixture, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet, and cook until mixture is slightly syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour sauce mixture over fillets; cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve at room temperature with baguette slices. (Or cover and refrigerate fillets overnight, allowing the fish to come to room temperature before serving.)