It’s the simple things that make things work.
When I can, I make dishes to bring up to my Old Ladies who live in the Bronx (that’s like upstate for someone coming from Brooklyn). It’s the simple dishes my mom used to make for me, like mackerel braised in soy sauce and spinach seasoned with sesame oil and garlic.
I brought them up to the Old Ladies this past Memorial Day weekend. Ironic as this is on the weekend you’re tasked to remember. But that’s okay, I have enough remembering for all of us.
I got the mackerel from the farmer’s market and they were particularly fine with their mesmerizingly bright eyes and iridescent skin.
Back in the day (think seventies & eighties), my mom would have mostly used canned mackerel for this dish as that is what was affordable. She would simmer the mackerel in soy sauce to cut whatever tinny residue lingered in the flesh. This dish is definitely an homage to her.
The spinach is a good complement to the fish (and too beautiful to pass up at my favorite vendor at the farmer’s market.) Just make sure you wash all the grit out of it.
You want to wilt the spinach, drain, and season with sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper. And just like the spinach is wilted, so are my Old Ladies.
Will my cooking this food keep my Old Ladies from crossing the bridge out of this world? It’s hard for me to say.
I just keep trying.
Mackerel braised in soy sauce
2 small mackerel, cleaned and chopped into pieces
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
ginger, grated and juiced
1 tbls honey
soy sauce, about 1/2 cup
water, about 1/8 cup
rice vinegar, about 1/8 cup
1/4 cup chopped scallions
salt & pepper
1. In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients except sesame seeds and let boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the mackerel is done.
2. Sprinke with sesame seeds before serving. Best as a side with rice and kimchi.