Smoked Mackerel Salad: The Things I Make At My Parents' House
If I’m up at my parent’s place on a Saturday morning, I tend to contract a case of what I like to call the ‘culinary fuckarounds.’ That is to say, I experiment with whatever’s in my parents’ fridge. Saturdays have the best selection, mostly because of the untold piles of leftovers from last night’s Shabbat dinner. Add to that the selection of odd, ready-to-eat food, items my dad’s picked up over the week and my own near-insatiable Ten AM peckishness and you get some wild, occasionally tasty, experiments.
In high school these experiments were usually coloured by the pressing needs of my hangover. Challa fried in butter, the greatest hangover cure I have, as yet, encountered, was born in those troubled years.
The selection at home is always reliable. Trout or Chicken left over from Friday night, along with a few mushrooms, and some well-cooked green veggies like grilled asparagus or wine-roasted Brussels Sprouts. Often there’s some leftover veg from earlier in the week, like Kale stewed with almonds and tomato paste or curried okra with baked beans.
Bread, often a scarcity at my parent’s house, ranges between dense, crubly Longo’s walnut bread and some spelt and flax concoction engineered to motivate even the most stubborn bowel. Again, on a Saturday I could always rely on some leftover Challa from the neighbourhood What A Bagel.
If I’m lucky I can find some smoked fish and a plastic container of Longo’s Artichoke and Asiago dip, a food with meth-like addictive qualities.
The real joy in cooking at my folks’ is that I have almost no say over what goes in the fridge. That way, when I want something, I’m forced to deal with ingredients I’m not especially used to. This week, I made a smoked mackerel Salad.
Here’s a recipe for one good-sized sandwich
½ a piece of smoke mackerel (smoked whitefish or even trout would do beautifully)
3 stalks of grilled asparagus
½ a shallot
About 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 small Challa roll
Very simple, shred the mackerel into a bowl, cut the asparagus into very small rounds and add them, finely dice the shallot and add that, mince the Cornichons and add them.
Toss in the Mayo and mix well, add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice and Toast the Challa. Add your fish salad and enjoy with coffee or maybe some leftover mushrooms.
Visit your parents, there’s usually some kind of food.