We were seasoning mackerel. We wanted to coat the fillets with seasonings and to apply a flavor glue of sorts to keep the spices in place. We could have simply dusted the mackerel with the spice blends and let them adhere and hydrate using the moisture and oils on the surface of the fish. Instead we wanted a flavorful base to combine with the spices and keep them in place. We reached for the 2 condiments that we always have on hand: mayonnaise and mustard.
We brushed the fish with the mustard and mayonnaise and then sprinkled 2 of Lior's seasonings onto them. We let them air dry overnight in the refrigerator to allow the spices to adhere and permeate the fish. The following day we cooked the fillets 2 different ways: in the wood fired oven and in the CVap. The results were surprising. The wood fired fish was meaty, rich, and not overly fishy, as mackerel has a tendency to be. The spices bloomed and toasted in the cast iron skillet. The mackerel cooked in the CVap was especially moist and rich but the flavor of the spices was weak and the mackerel's oily, slightly heavy flavor profile was more intense.
Our observations of the results will guide our next steps in cooking fish, especially mackerel. Spices want to be toasted. High heat firms the fish and provides an appealing texture. Perhaps we can use both methods and reverse our steps: first searing in the oven and then slowly finishing in the CVap, allowing the aromatic spices to further flavor the fish as it cooks in the moist, gentle environment.