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Korean Grilled Mackerel
“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. ”
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 1½ pounds each) or 4 whole rainbow trout (about 5 ounces each), cleaned and butterflied, tails left on (see Notes)
1Whisk 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.
2Open 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.
3About 20 minutes before you're ready to grill, preheat grill to high or prepare a charcoal fire.
4Brush 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.)
Fish on foil: Fish that flakes easily requires a delicate touch to flip on the grill. If you want to skip turning it over when grilling, measure a piece of foil large enough to hold the fish and coat it with cooking spray. Grill the fish on the foil (without turning) until it flakes easily and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.