Mackerel, Spanish

Category: Finfish

Family:  Mackerel

Location: Atlantic Ocean- Gulf of Mexico to Cape Cod.

Size: 2-6 pounds

Season: Varies

Cooking Applications: Raw (Sushi) Grilled, Steamed, Fried.  Oily, rich and full-flavored fish that is versatile with many cooking preparations.

Substitutes: Bluefish, Herring, Tuna.

Spanish Mackerel,  incredibly enough, is a close relative of the Tuna, a fish that is often a hundred times its size.  The family Scombridae encompasses both, and each share similar features: Both have deeply forked or crescent-shaped tail fins, both are predaceous, and both are streamlined, powerful swimmers that are highly migratory.  It is this reason that both are found around the world, and in great numbers in the Atlantic Ocean.

 As far as Mackerel are concerned, the Spanish Mackerel is considered large.  Most weigh an average of 2 to 6 pounds, but some have tipped the scales at more than twice that.  Currently these fish are being harvested in the Mid-Atlantic region, near the Carolinas and points south.  Their overall range is from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Cod.

 Spanish Mackerel flesh is fairly oily, yet not as much as the more common Atlantic Mackerel.  It is relatively firm, making it suitable for the grill, but is of such high quality that it can be served sashimi style. Being a larger fish than the Atlantic Mackerel, is lends itself to more varied styles of presentation.