I know some people say ‘Holy Mackerel!’, but I am not so sure how many among them have eaten the real fish. In fact, I never seen any western restaurant serves dish with the mackerel. After my 10 seconds research, I found out the restaurant named Holy Mackerel*, but even there is no mackerel dish. What an irony!
In fact, I cannot think of any kind of western dish can use the mackerel as its main protein ingredients since no sauce combination comes to my mind. However, cooking and eating mackerel is very simple, and neither sauce nor complicated cooking is needed; you just can salt and grill them, and that is it. When I was a kid, the mackerel was the main fish(or protein) comes to the table very often, mainly because it was inexpensive and readily available, and very delicious and nutricious as well. When there was no mackerel available, either fresh or frozen, we could have canned one with the sardine as the alternative. However, the story has been somehow different as the mackerel has been a little bit rarer than when I was a kid mainly because of too much fishing(I do not have any research can back this up, but I remember I heard it from news).
I guess one of the reason people don’t eat the mackarel is its smell; when it is not fresh, I think the smell is worse than other fish because of their dark flesh, and it rots really fast as they get caught and die. Therefore, it is hard to get mackerel sushi or sashimi even if you want to; I always ask the chef that they have one that day, but sometimes it is pickled with vinegar or slight cooked even if they have.
Anyway, the mackerel has a lot fat, so they can hold up during the prolonged cooking method like braising(it is not like braising short rib; it would take only about 30 minutes with soy sauce marinade and thickly sliced radish or potato on the bottom of the pot). However, simple grilling is always good choice if you want to taste the meatiness of the mackerel: you just sprinkle generous amount of kosher salt on both side, and put it on the toaster oven with broiler mode for about 7-10 minutes(or even less: I tend to overcook fish) each side, but always skin side down first. By cooking skin side later, you can have crisp skin with very moist, juicy, and slightly fatty meat underneath it. I used to buy one mackerel from the Korean grocery store and get the gut and fin out, then cut it into smaller pieces, put those on the foil, and salt and wrap them. You can always freeze pieces you will not eat soon, and thaw them the day before you eat in the refrigerator(safer way to thaw, you know that). And when the time comes, you just can unfold the foil and put it on the toaster as I mentioned above; do not forget to poke some halls at the bottom of the foil so that excessive fat can be taken out.
The one I cooked the other day(in the picture) had some blisters on the skin as if getting bombed by napalm, but the flesh was very moist. Few weeks ago, I’ve been to Wholefood in my neighborhood and saw some kind of mackerel. I do not know that was what I used to eat, but will figure out next time.
* The restaurant looks likes having some connection with legendary Harry Carey.