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Feb 6, 2007 10:12 PM

Mark Bittman: Mackerel Article

Mark Bittman's piece in today's New York Times includes an interesting recipe for mackerel. Mr. Bittman states the following:

"Cook it with the skin on (it has no scales) and serve it over rice with some of the poaching liquid spooned over it."

I'd like to point out that mackerel does, indeed, have scales, albeit small ones. I was quite surprised to read Mr. Bittman's remarks, since mackerel is known to be a kosher fish (for fish to be considered kosher, it must have scales and fins).

Aside from this, the statement is quite absurd: when has a fish having scales prevented anyone from cooking it skin-on? Seems to me that scaling a fish is part of the process of cleaning said fish, no?

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  1. Exactly! Salmon have scales, don't they? I always get salmon fillets with the skin on and cook them that way. Never thought twice about it. Anyway, the makerel recipe sounds interesting -- I plan on trying it this week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pixellle

      I tried this recipe and found it very salty.

    2. Spanish Mackeral have no scales, Boston Mackeral have no scales. Maybe you guys know of a mackeral that I don't.

      2 Replies
      1. re: howund09

        Spanish mackerel do have scales. Boston/Atlantic mackerel do have scales.

        Spanish mackerel:

        Boston mackerel:

        Case closed.

        By the way, it's spelled "mackerel," not "mackeral."

        1. re: FlavoursGal

          Many fish, such as tuna, herring and mackerel, shed their scales when removed from the water. So they are kosher, but usually do not require scaling as such.

      2. I presume Bittman was speaking in culinary terms. Some fish have such large and inedible scales that they have to be scraped off.

        1. Q&A 16. Is it correct to consider the Spanish mackerel as a scaly fish?
          Miami, Florida

          Yes, the Spanish mackerel has scales. These scales which only partly cover this species, are so small however that they are frequently overlooked.

          this q/a came from this site:

          1. Actually I discovered that mackerel actually do have scales at least the atlantic cold water ones do but there are species of mackerel that don't have scales I eat kosher so its good to know these things