Korean Grilled Mackerel

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Oily fish, such as mackerel, are strong-flavored and pair well with boldly seasoned glazes made from gochujang chile paste. The red, rich paste is so common in Korea that it is sold in virtually every supermarket in plastic containers ranging in size from about 2 cups to about 2 quarts. Normally the main ingredients are fermented soybeans ground with red chiles and powdered rice, plus a little salt and sweetener.

Korean Grilled Mackerel
photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 60 minutes (30 minutes prep)

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Korean chile paste (see Notes)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 2 whole mackerel (about 1 1/2 pounds each) or 4 whole rainbow trout (about 5 ounces each), cleaned and butterflied, tails left on (see Notes)

Directions
  1. Whisk chile paste, oil, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer 2 tablespoons marinade to a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Open each fish like a book, exposing the flesh. Place in a large pan or on a baking sheet and spread the remaining marinade over the flesh. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  3. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill, preheat grill to high or prepare a charcoal fire.

  4. Brush the grill rack clean and oil it well (see Tip). Grill the fish, flesh-side down, for 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula, spread the reserved marinade over the fish and grill until opaque in the center, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Notes: Both wild-caught mackerel from the Atlantic and farmed rainbow trout from the U.S. are considered best choices for the environment, according to seafoodwatch.org. For this recipe, you’ll need whole mackerel (or rainbow trout) that has been cleaned, butterflied and the heads removed (tails left on). Availability of whole mackerel (or trout) varies, but most fish markets or fish departments at large supermarkets can order and clean the fish for you. Call ahead to make sure you get what you’re looking for.

Korean chile paste (also called hot pepper paste, gochujang or kochujang) is a fermented spicy condiment made from red chiles, soybeans and salt. Find it in Korean or Asian markets or online from koamart.com. Annie Chun, a widely distributed national brand of Asian foods, has recently launched their own bottled gochujang sauce that is becoming increasingly available in large supermarkets. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. To make a substitute for Korean chile paste, combine 2 tablespoons white miso, 2 tablespoons Asian-style chile sauce, such as sriracha, and 2 teaspoons molasses.

Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)


Nutritional Facts

Servings
4
Calories
221
Carbohydrates
4 g
Fat
7 g
Saturated Fat
1 g
Protein
34 g
Cholesterol
87 mg
Dietary Fiber
0 g
Potassium
721 mg
Sodium
612 mg
Yield
4 servings
Exchanges
5 lean meat
Nutrition bonus
Potassium and Vitamin A : 21% daily value
Iron
17% dv

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