King Mackerel is not an everyday fish in most peoples kitchens. Even properly prepped it’s strong flavor can overwhelm many a recipe. We have a recipe here that not only hold up well but, wraps itself fully around the mackerel, incorporating the fish’s more notable characteristics in a savory and tasty dish.
Chef’s Disclaimer: While it may be argued that most recipes on the web are derivative to some degree this recipe is, admittedly, lifted almost entirely whole. From the original recipe, Pan Seared Florida Grouper w/ Smoked Gouda Grits and Tomato Bacon Gravy – a wonderful Fresh Florida recipe, the Grouper has been replaced with King Mackerel. That’s about it. There are few minor riffs in our take on the dish but, the fish choice is the only material departure from the original. The execution of this recipe is not anywhere as tedious as it might appear on screen. The work flows and the end product is well worth the effort.
4 King Mackerel filets
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 cup grits, coarse ground
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of white pepper
1/2 cup+ smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped coarse
2 large Florida tomatoes, diced small
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 scallions, sliced thin for garnish
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine the chicken stock and milk in a pot and get your grits & Gouda ready to go.
Bring the liquids to a slow boil, add the grits, white pepper & butter and stir the mixture until thoroughly mixed. Cook per package directions until done.
When the Grits are ready, reduce heat, add the Gouda Cheese, mix in well for 2 minutes and, as needed, add additional milk/stock (chefs choice) to achieve desired consistency. Cover and set burner temp to low until you are ready to plate the dish.
Season the Mackerel fillets
Heat your skillet, w/oil, to medium. Place the fillets in heated oil for searing.
Pan sear the fillets 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the fillets, and set aside until ready for plating.
With the fillets off to the side, bring the bacon to the skillet, cooking for 3 minutes or until they just start to brown up a little.
Add the chopped tomato & garlic to the bacon and, stirring the mixture, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the cooking mixture. Bring to a low boil, stirring as you go, and reduce the heat.
Season further with salt & pepper as desired. Yo are ready to construct the dish and take it to the table and your hungry diners.
Lay down some foundation gravy, add a generous portion of the grits, settle a fillet on in there, a little more gravy and some chopped scallion to finish. If you are a Mack lover, this is the dish for you. Tight lines and see you at the fuel dock….