I was working today, and out all day, so I did not have time to choose my ingredients as carefully as I might like. I had to just raid the fridge for the ingredients for dinner when I got home. My parents know better than to cook me dinner: if I have had a long day I need to unwind in the kitchen, with stereo, no interruptions. I'll be sociable when dinner is ready. So, St. Luke - the patron saint of artists, physicians, students and butchers as far as I recall. Some people say you should cook a beautiful cut of beef today to commemorate Luke's patronage of butchers and his symbol, an Ox. But not me, I do not like to eat too much meat, once a week being a maximum, ideally. Anyway, there was none in. So I thought I would go for something artistic and good for you, cheap, cheerful and colourful. If you use your imagination you might get the Lukan connections, but what we are really looking at here is a recipe created by someone who is tired, is working from the ingredients in the fridge and wants whatever dinner is to be simple and relaxing to cook.
Baked Mackerel with roast tomatoes (for 3)
3 whole mackerel, cleaned but with heads on
6 squishily ripe tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
I washed the cleaned mackerel under the tap to make sure the job had been done properly by the fishmonger. I lay each fish on a separate piece of tinfoil big enough to make a baking parcel for it. In a bowl I thinly sliced the tomatoes, crushed the garlic, a squeeze of half a lemon and two great handfuls of chopped greek basil and seasoning. Then I took a nob of butter for each fish, ran it along the outside of the fish, then placed it inside. Using my hands, I stuffed each fish with the tomato mixture and placed the excess all over the top and sides. I parceled up each fish so as the air and juices could not escape, and placed them into a deep metal pan (these parcel have a tendency to leek no matter how good you think you are). I baked the fish at 200C for 30 mins.
I served these with sauteed potatoes, and sauteed samphire (yes, it was in the fridge - I'm not cheating!). I tipped each fish out of its parcel and onto the plate with all it juices, so as people could mash their potatoes into the sauces. Classy.
Juniper, new feline resident, tasted some too - and she liked it.
Lukan connections are a bit sparse. I am going with, colourful and arty looking, greek basil for an evangelist who wrote in Greek, and err...fish is meant to be good for you. Wax lyrical on the symbolism of fishes and wine (which we had as an accompaniment, naturally).