We are introducing you to the simplest way to enjoy Mackerel Fillets.
Of course you may go to the seafood store and purchase a fresh fish, have them clean it and once at home, you can boil, steam, bake, de-bone, etc., etc.
And believe us, it is not going to be any better than the one in the can.
Mackerel Fillets usually come in flat, rectangular cans.
We suggest you purchase the easy-pull cans, they are so convenient.
Otherwise, you will have a difficult time maneuvering the can-opener around the edges.
They are excellent as an appetizer or as a side dish.
Most of the canned fillets are destined for Italy and Poland whose populations are big consumers of this fish.
If you happen to have friends from these two countries, ask them which dishes best complement it.
Basically, in Canada, the recommended brands are Unico, Mr. Goudas and Aurora.
However, in the smaller independent stores you may find other brand names such as: Trata and Flokos, which are very popular in Europe. These two brands have several varieties of canned mackerel, e.g. baked, smoked, in tomato, etc.
Their species also come from the Aegean Sea in the northern part of Greece and have a wonderful taste and texture but are a bit more expensive.
So let us experiment with the Mackerel Filets, and who knows, some of you may begin to like it or even love it.
At least give it a try.
I recall when I imported my first container of mackerel, the first thing I had to do was open a few cases and a couple cans to sample. At one point a couple people inquired what am I going to do with that.
At that time I did not have the correct answer because the question took me by surprise. After so many years, I realize that many people do not know what to do with a can of fish.
Maybe this explanation will help you to understand that importation of fish products from another country goes through many procudures regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Fisheries Departmant.
I am not going to go into details because it would take days to read them.
However, a small explanation will enlighten you.
For example, the seaming around the can has to be to specificatons, the type of fish and name have to be correct in both official languages (English and French), and the nutirtion information has to be accurate.
Additionally, the company overseas producing the fish product has to be authorized and accepted by the above department with respect to canning procedures, weights and measures, type of fish knowledge, and sterilization processes and be aware of the Canadian Standards with proper documentation for customs and inspections.
In reality whatever is on the market and on the supermarket shelves have already passed the Department of Fisheries requirements and is safe.
However, the department cannot open every case and check every can.
Therefore, should you see a blown-up can, it is advisable to call the company responsible and give them the code or lot number for their investigation into the cause of this issue.
So now you have a can of mackerel, not any can but the easy-pull can, what do you do with it ?
Like years ago, I stlll do not have an answer. To me the obvious was, and still is, to simply eat it.
The can is so convenient that you may take it to your workplace, pack it in your lunch bag, keep a few at the cottage and your cupboard, take a few to the food bank, etc.
Once at home, open the can and place on a rectangular plate (it looks fancier), prepare your salad either with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese, etc., or a romaine lettuce salad.
It would be preferable to have crusty Italian bread , for your SCARPETA, i.e. getting every last drip of the juice.
Somewhere in one of my books I have given credit to the Italians for their soccer skills, the opera, racing cars, lupini eating technique and their preparation of Italian crusty bread.
Now is the time to start your lunch or supper.
If the quality of the fish and the aroma are exceptional, the first thing that would happen is that your cat will join you at the table. Just like Mangas (which means street boy in the Greek language).
Mangas is not an ordinary cat.
He has read and memorized in detail all the CFIA regulations and is well qualified to examine and taste the contents.
In a few words, Mangas will eat all the mackerel including the juice.
On the other hand, I will have no choice but to enjoy the crusty Italian bread and salad.
At the end, we are both happy and we took this memorable photo which is a collector item since Mangas is actually looking into the camera with a satisfied look on his face and meshed into my shoulder as such a loving pet.
My secretary took this photo on impluse, stating, Sir, you guys have matching outfits and whiskers today!
I have said a lot about the seaming, the can, the CFIA, etc., etc. I have nothing else to say.
I am only waiting for you to give the Mr. Goudas Mackerel Fillets a try.
Σπύρος Πήτερ Γούδας