Thomas Soukakos grew up in Pireaus, Greece’s largest port city, where fish and seafood fuel the shipping trade as well as the local restaurants. Now he takes advantage of Seattle’s proximity to the ocean as well as his contacts in Greece, who ship him Mediterranean fish every few days. In typical Greek fashion, he believes that the better the fish, the less you need to do to it. With an oily fish like mackerel or bluefish, all it needs is a spell on the grill; the art is in his eggplant salad, which has a refreshing tang and brightness that offsets the richness of the fish.
2 Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds)
2 red bell peppers
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup chopped parsley
⅓ cup chopped mint
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
4 mackerel fillets, skin on
Cook the eggplant and peppers on a grill or stove top until the flesh is soft and the skin is charred. Set aside to cool.
Peel the peppers, discard the ribs and seeds, and roughly chop the flesh. Peel the eggplant as well and roughly chop it. Combine in a bowl. Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and add to the bowl, mixing well to combine. Stir in the parsley, mint and red pepper flakes and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while you cook the mackerel; add the walnuts to the salad just before serving.
To cook the fish, heat a grill or grill pan until very hot and grease it well. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then place skin-side down on the grill. Cook until 5 to 8 minutes, until the flesh has firmed and the skin is crisp. Remove from the grill. Serve each fillet with the eggplant salad. To drink, Soukakos finds this dish goes equally well with a broad, citrusy white like Papagiannakos Malagousia from Attika or a xinomavro like Domaine Karydas from Naoussa.
This recipe was featured in W&S August 2016.
Photo by photo by Felicia Peretti..