Cabella Incrustada con Pimentón y Sal de Mar Fumada

June 10, 2007

Two very good friends of mine were recently joined in Holy Matrimony and Dinner, at the very least, played a major role in uniting Rem and his lovely bride F. Kate Reynolds. How could she resist Rem while he was whipping up intoxicating dishes like Patatanchois, Gravlax and Coctel de Camarones con Salsa Tomatillo? That’s right, she couldn’t.

Since the beautiful ceremony, Rem has had to shift his attentions away from the kitchen. Apparently, he only has time to pop something in the oven while he stares into the eyes of his beloved. When we heard of Rem’s dilemma we immediately bought plane tickets to Barcelona.

Our first stop was Tossa de Mar and with the help of a local fisherman we found our way to the kitchens of Doña Alvarez on the seaside mountain of Calella de Palafrugell. A dozen fresh cabella (you may know this fish as mackerel, but it sounds so lovely when you say it Spanish) from our fisherfriend persuaded La Doña to prescribe the remedy.

Spanish Mackerel Crusted with Spicy Paprika and Smoked Sea Salt

2 fresh, whole Spanish mackerel, cleaned
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbs smoked sea salt
1 tsp pimentón picante (you could also spicy Hugarian paprika)
2 lemons, cut in wedges
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
Handful of parsley, washed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, sea salt and pimentón. Brush the fish with the egg and dip in the bread crumbs to coat both sides.

Stuff the fish with the lemon, garlic and parsley. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment (avoids sticking and makes for easy clean up). Bake on the center rack for about 30 minutes (10 minutes per inch of thickness or until 145 on your meat thermometer or until your keen sense of smell says, “the fish is done”).

Serve with slices of lemon, Gaeta olives and Muga Rosado. Start with a watercress salad.

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