Sometimes you just want to do something a little differently. Recently on a Saturday spent with my parents, we picked up some mackerel for lunch. When my dad suggested we cook them with some butter, white wine and vinegar I did wonder for a minute. I had assumed we'd stuff the mackerel with some herbage and some citrus and simply grill. However, he said he'd done it like this before, and it turned out well so I went along with it.
We dug out the old tome that housed this recipe, Larousse Gastronomique, and set about making the recipe. The fish were filleted and I spent a good 10 minutes hunched over the fillets removing the little pin bones with my tweezers, checking for any wayward eyebrow hairs.
Next, 2 diced onions were slowly cooked to almost-caramelised sweetness in a healthy amount of butter with a dash of oil. The oven was preheated to 200 degrees C, and half the onions were scooped into a buttered dish. The salt and peppered mackerel were laid out on top and covered with the remaining onions. A generous tablespoon of red wine vinegar was splashed on top, along with 4 very generous tablespoons of white wine. At the point, the recipe called for breadcrumbs to be sprinkled on top, but we couldn't be arsed. With the top dotted with butter, the dish went in the oven for 10 minutes.
We were somewhat concerned whether the 10 minutes would be sufficient enough to burn the alcohol off. After all, my unfortunate mother is allergic to booze and this dish may have rendered her red faced and droopy-eyed (yes, really). We gave it about 12 minutes in the end, and when it came out it was happily bubbling. There were no incidents around the dining table. Scattered with some finely chopped parsley, served with a simply dressed salad and some crusty French baguette, this made a fine lunch. The mackerel were cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. Not normally a fan of soggy fish skin, the meat was so tender you couldn't even tell it was there, save the tell-tale silvery colour peeking from below. The sweetness of the onions was balanced perfectly with the vinegar, and the buttery, white wine sauce was mopped up readily with the bread.