Spanish, king or cero mackerel work well for this hearty stew, cooked in one pot for simplicity and fast preparation, and served with a slice of crusty bread smeared with Old Bay aioli.
Mackerel Fish Stew Creole
⋅2 quarts fish stock
⋅4 mackerel fillets, 6 ounces each
⋅4-8 heads-on shrimp
⋅1 1⁄2 cups octopus or squid chunks
⋅2 Tbsp. paprika
⋅2 Tbsp. gumbo file
⋅1⁄2 cup garlic, chopped
⋅2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
⋅2 Tbsp. chives, chopped
⋅2 Tbsp. tarragon, chopped
⋅3 Tbsp. salt
⋅1⁄4 cup lemon zest and juice
⋅1 Tbsp. olive oil
⋅2 Tbsp. butter
1. Add gumbo file and paprika to the fish stock, stir, and set aside.
2. Salt mackerel fillets and shrimp.
3. Place a large saucepan with olive oil over medium heat until it starts to smoke, then add the fish and shrimp to sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip while cooking.
4. Add the clams, then the octopus a minute later, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove the fish fillets and reserve for plating, then pour the fish stock in the pan and lower the heat.
5. Add butter to thicken the broth and simmer a couple of minutes, then add the chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
6. Transfer everything to a large bowl.
Toast With Old Bay Aioli
⋅3 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
⋅2 cups mayonnaise
⋅2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
⋅1⁄2 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Combine Old Bay, mayo and red wine vinegar, and mix thoroughly.
2. Sprinkle a little olive oil on sliced sourdough, Italian loaf or similar crusty bread, then grill or toast right before plating.
1. Serve equal amounts of seafood in soup bowls, add a mackerel fillet in each, and ladle the broth on top.
2. Spread the aioli mix on the bread, sprinkle a bit of mixed herbs, and serve a slice with every bowl of stew.