I just returned from a one-week holiday in southern Spain, visiting among others Sevilla, Cádiz and Córdoba. I'm a big fan of fish and seafood, and Andalucía as a maritime region is obviously great for getting the stuff really fresh and well-prepared, which I often miss in Dresden. So I feasted on different tapas mariscos, ate some great fresh gambas (had to peel them myself, which was double the fun), and in Cádiz I came upon the rather plain, but very tasty bacalao con tomate — codfish in a tomato sauce with some added vegetables like potatoes, onions or olives. Apparently a traditional common people dish of the area.
When returning home, I was plundering the fridge and came upon some deep-frozen mackerels, which were looking quite good for frozen fish - so I decided to cook my own variation of the above-mentioned bacalao con tomate. In fact, I actually prefer the oily, savoury of the mackerel to the rather bland codfish in the original recipe.
For vegetables, I added eggplant and potatoes and left out the olives, but I guess you could follow your own creativity and common sense here.
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 2 large mackerels
- 4-5 tomatoes
- 1 eggplant
- 3-4 potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- bay leaf
- lemon juice
Clean and prepare the mackerels. If necessary, remove the guts and the head. Wash carefully. Either cut them into fillets or just into sections through the spine.
Heat some olive oil in a pan. Dust the mackerel pieces with a little flour and fry for 1-2 minutes (not too long, as they will be cooked in the sauce later anyway) at good heat.
Cut the eggplant into sections and put these into saltwater (as you would use for boiling potatoes or pasta). This will the dissolve most of the bitter substances from the fruit.
Peel and cut the potatoes, peel and cut the onion. Heat some olive oil in another, larger pan. Fry the potatoes and onions until slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
Wash and dice the tomatoes. (Shortly boil in hot water and peel if you don't like the skin). Add to potatoes and onions and stir fry.
Cut the garlic into dices of your preferred size and add to the pan.
Remove the eggplant sections from the water, dry and cut into slices. Add to the pan. Again, season with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme. Add a bay leaf.
Leave cooking for 5-10 minutes, add some water to get a bit more sauce.
Finally add the fried fish. Season with lemon juice. Leave cooking for 5-10 minutes more.
Sprinkle with freshly cut parsley and serve.