Saturday, February 23, 2019

Grilled Kingfish Steak

As I stood before the seafood counter of my local Korean supermarket, a certain fish caught my attention.  The fish had been cut into steaks, but it was the greyish-blueish tint of the meat that caught my eye.  I had not seen those steaks or that fish before. The sign read "Kingfish."

Kingfish -- or King Mackerel -- is a long fish, with an iron-grey color on its back that fades into a silver along its belly. The fish grows fast, and, with a lifespan that can reach 20 years (as long as it never finds itself on a hook), that means that a king mackerel can grow to be five and one-half feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds.  All the while, the kingfish feeds on smaller migratory fishes, shrimp and squid.   In turn, the king mackerel, finds themselves as part of the diet of dolphins, sharks and tuna.

The king mackerel can be found in the coastal zones of the western Atlantic ocean, from Maine to Brazil.  A little cloer to home (the United States), the king mackerel population is divided into two distinct communities: (1) the Atlantic Group and (2) the Gulf of Mexico Group.  The boundary of the two groups runs along the line between Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in southern Florida. 

The King Mackerel a/k/a Kingfish

The story of the king mackerel is a story of the success of regulatory management.  For decades, there were no rules or limits on the catch of king mackerel.  This led to a decline in the populations with the stock reaching critical lows.  In the 1980s, the United States adopted regulations governing the catch of kingfish.  An example of the regulations can be found at this link, which are for the south Atlantic region.  The overall regulations, coupled with the fact that the fish grows at a rapid pace (as well as can reproduce at 2 years of age), has led to the growth in the populations.  The growth has been so successful that the fish has reached the target levels.  This success makes this fish one of the more sustainable choices to grace those seafood counters.

This brings me back to my first effort to cook with kingfish.  As it turns out, the kingfish is not only located along the western Atlantic, but there are populations of the fish along the coastal waters of the Indian subcontinent, especially around Chennai.  I was able to find a recipe that called for grilling the kingfish steaks, after they have been marinated in a chile-turmeric oil.   The recipe is very easy, and, a great way to introduce oneself to this wonderful fish. 


GRILLED KINGFISH STEAKS
Recipe adapted from The Indian Claypot
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 kingfish steaks
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of red chile powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1.  Prepare the fish.  Rinse the kingfish well, using lemon and salt water.

2.  Prepare the marinade.  In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, chile powder, ground black pepper, lemon juice, and salt until a smooth paste.  Apply the paste over the fish steaks until well coated and set aside at room temperature or the refrigerator for an hour.

3.  Prepare the grill.  Heat a grill on medium-high heat.  Brush oil on the grates.  

4.  Grill the steaks.  Place the kingfish steaks on the grill.  Grill for 10 minutes and flip.  Grill for 8 minutes more.

ENJOY!

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