Fried Mackerel with Caper & Basil Cream
Versatile mackerel or sgombri in Italian are a great fish for grilling, baking or frying. Like all oily fish, sgombri should be consumed as fresh as possible, or cleaned and preserved in salt or oil immediately after being caught. Many Italians preserve their own sgombri sotto olio at home, sometimes adding sliced red onion, garlic, or sprigs of fresh herbs to the fish packed in glass storage jars. The recipe here calls for smaller fillets of sgombro, but larger fillets can also be used, adjusting the other quantities as needed.
Process the yogurt, capers, and basil for a few seconds. If too liquidy, add the optional additional cream and combine with a spoon. Correct for salt and let thicken in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. (Remove from the fridge 5 minutes before serving.)
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic, dried pepper, and chopped parsley. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato pulp, combine and simmer while you cook the fish.
Dredge the sgombro fillets in flour. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan. Fry the fish for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Transfer to paper and salt lightly.
Pour the tomato sauce onto a serving platter. Arrange the fish on the tomato sauce. Stir the cream and pour on top of the fish and garnish with the additional fresh parsley.