Mackerel with Fennel and Onion Sofrito

February 28, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Generally I sauté fish but in this instance I decided to broil it. I don't know why other then I think people are more comfortable putting fish in the oven and because I sauté everything, I thought it might be nice to branch out and try some different techniques.

I use fresh tomato pulp here. It is simply tomatoes cut in half and, placed cut side down on a grater and over a bowl. Use the palm of your hand and grate the tomatoes down to their skin. Discard the skin.

For the most part you can use any fish for this recipe so use what you like. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 4 six-ounce mackerel or fish filets
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup fresh tomato pulp, see headnote
  • 1/3 cup nicoise olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • pinch of fennel seeds
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, julienned
  1. Season the fish with salt about an hour in advance of when you want to prepare them. This is a Japanese technique for preparing fish and if anyone knows how to prepare fish it is the Japanese.
  2. Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. A little more then a thin layer. Add the onions and fennel. Season them with a heavy pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  3. Take you time and cook the onions and fennel until soft. If they take on a little color that is fine but don't brown them too heavily. In the end you want this to be gooey.
  4. Add the white wine and let it reduce to a couple of tablespoons. Add the tomato pulp and cook the sofrito until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Remove from the heat.
  5. Set your oven rack so it is about 4 to 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler. Place the filets on an oiled sheet tray and season them with white pepper.
  6. Place the fish in the oven. Set a timer for 4 minutes and broil the fish.
  7. Place the sofrito over medium heat. Stir in the olives, currants and pine nuts. Keep the sofrito warm. At the end of four minutes check the fish for doneness. I did this recipe twice and the 1/2 inch thick filets took 4 minutes both times, but everyone's oven is different. Cook them 2 minutes longer if you need to.
  8. Plate them and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Blissful Baker
    Blissful Baker
  • Patricia Carr
    Patricia Carr
  • Margit Van Schaick
    Margit Van Schaick

3 Reviews

Patricia C. March 21, 2015
Fantastic dish!! I made this with Spanish mackerel. I had never had this fish before and the fishmonger said that it had a stronger flavor than the dish we normally choose but the flavours of the dish were big and it turned out beautifully! Just one thing, when did you add the garlic?
Margit V. February 28, 2012
Love your beautiful writing, and the recipe for the mackerel sounds delicious! Btw, the NY Times just wrote about a recent study showing the beneficial effects on the brain (and various aspects of it's functioning) of eating Omega-3-rich fish such as mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and salmon.
Blissful B. February 28, 2012
Hi Tom. You forgot the onions in your ingredient list. How many?