Crudo (raw) is a great way to prepare fantastically fresh fish. Mackerel has great personality and texture on the plate, but other full-flavored fish can work well here, such as kona kampachi.
Make Ahead: The raisins can be prepped a day in advance.
- 4 skin-on mackerel fillets (about 6 ounces each; may substitute kona kampachi)
- 1/2 cup water
- Juice from 1/2 medium lemon (1 to 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon golden raisins
- Water, as needed
- 3 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 to 6 mint leaves, cut into very thin strips (julienne; 1 packed tablespoon)
- Flaked sea salt, for garnish
Place the fillets skin side down on a cutting board. Use a flexible and very sharp knife to gently cut along the center line of the fish until you reach the darker-colored flesh. Begin to turn the knife, sliding it along the fillet to carve away the white parts and leave the sinewy part just under the skin. Discard the white parts and skin. Repeat with each fillet; place them in a shallow baking dish as you work.
Combine the water, a few drops of the lemon juice and the salt in a liquid measuring cup to form a brine, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour over the fish; let sit for up to 5 minutes, then remove from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut each fillet crosswise into 5 or 6 slices. Arrange on individual plates.
Combine the raisins, a few tablespoons of water and the remaining lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, remove from the heat. The raisins should begin to plump up. (This can be done right before serving or a day before to fully rehydrate them. The warm raisins are a nice counterpoint to the cold fish on the plate.)
Combine the almonds and the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown and have flavored the oil.
When ready to serve, arrange the raisins around the fish. Top with the julienne of mint. Spoon the almonds and oil so that the nuts sit on top of the fish and the oil runs around the plate. Garnish each piece of fish with a sprinkling of sea salt. Serve immediately.
From chef Barton Seaver of Blue Ridge restaurant.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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