Mr. Ambrosia and Nectar and I first made this dish about a year ago, when family was coming to stay. We chose it because it promised good flavors but was easy enough to prepare and cook when chatting with guest. I really enjoyed it though Mr. A&N wasn't that impressed. The recipe stayed with me, and when I found some nice fresh mackerel this week, I thought it was time to convert Mr. A&N.
The original recipe, using bream, is from Casa Moro, and is typically served in Spain at Christmas. Since it's a winter dish, I adapted some of the ingredients for the summer (such as swapping bream with fresh mackerel, and leaving out the fresh fennel but bringing in rosemary). The taste remained lovely, though; the fish subtly takes on the flavor of the other things around it, and the combination of garlic, lemon, fennel seed, bay leaves and rosemary infuses the potatoes and tomatoes with delicate mouthfuls of flavor. Making the dish this time around, I made sure to seed all the tomatoes which I think improved the result and concentrated the flavors. The proof was in the eating when Mr. Ambrosia and Nectar declared he didn't know why he didn't like it the first time around, and we should definitely have it more often.
Baked Fish with Potatoes and Tomatoes (adapted from Casa Moro)
- 2 small to medium fresh mackerel
- 3 medium potatoes (about 400g/1 lb)
- 1 medium red onion
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
- 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
- 1 lemon, sliced into about 8 slices
- 1/2 Tbs fennel seeds
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- Clean and pat dry the fish, and salt and pepper it inside and out.
- Peel and slice the potatoes into medium-thin slices (about 3mm). Place in a large bowl.
- Slice the tomatoes into medium-sized slices (about 5mm), taking care to seed them. Place in the bowl with the potatoes.
- Slice the onions into thin, circular slices and put in the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Also place in the bowl the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, 4 of the lemon slices, and the fennel seeds.
- Pour on the olive oil and enough salt and pepper, and gently mix well.
- Layer evenly on a roasting tray, and roast for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place the mackerel (with the remaining slices of lemon) on top. Cover the fish with vegetables, taking care to leave enough underneath. Drizzle with extra olive oil if looking a bit dry.
- Cook for a further 15 minutes or until fish is done.