HERE FISH is cooked by the same method one uses for making a roast of veal in Italy, and for the same reasons. The slow cooking in a covered pan keeps the flesh tender and juicy, its flavor uplifted by the fragrance of rosemary and garlic.
For 4 servings
- 4 small mackerel, about ¾ pound each, gutted and scaled, but with heads and tails on
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- A small sprig of rosemary OR 1 teaspoon dried leaves, crumbled
- Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
- Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
- 1. Wash the fish under cold running water, then pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Make 3 parallel, diagonal cuts on both sides of each fish, cutting no deeper than the skin.
- 2. Put the olive oil and garlic in an oval roasting pan, if you have one, or a saute pan or other pot where the fish can subsequently fit side by side. Turn on the heat to medium, and cook the garlic until it becomes colored a pale gold. Put in the fish and the rosemary. Brown the fish well on both sides. Keep loosening it from the bottom with a metal spatula to keep it from sticking, and turn it over carefully to make sure it doesn’t break up. Put salt and pepper on both its sides.
- 3. Add the lemon juice, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the flesh feels tender when prodded with a fork. Serve promptly when done.