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Categories: Fish and shellfish, Healthy eating, Main courses

Mackerel baked with bay and lemon

Mackerel baked with bay and lemon
Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Even out of the water they have a commanding presence. Their skin is shiny silver and midnight blue, and their eyes are hard as garnets. These are wild fish fresh from the ocean, and it shows; even trapped in their ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 4
  • 4 ( 1/2 -pound) Spanish mackerel (aji)
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 sliced paper-thin and 1 cut into wedges for garnish

Step 1Clean the fish, removing the fins and cutting away the bony little triangle just behind the gills that contain the side fins. Rinse well in cold water and pat dry. Cut two diagonal slices angling from head to tail in both sides of each fish, cutting almost but not entirely through the flesh.

Step 2Cut each bay leaf in half lengthwise, then into quarters. Slip a piece of bay leaf into each of the slits in the fish. Season with salt and a few flakes of dried red pepper on both sides and brush lightly with olive oil.

Step 3Cut 4 squares of aluminum foil big enough to hold the fish. Lay 4 slices of lemon in an overlapping line down the center. Place the fish on top. Seal the aluminum foil by crinkling the edges over to form a package. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 4When ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the packages on a jellyroll pan and bake 20 minutes. Mackerel is done when the flesh is firm and slightly dense, not flaky. Place each package on a plate with lemon wedges and let the diners open them themselves.

Each serving:
162 calories; 22 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 86 mg. cholesterol; 67 mg. sodium.
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