I just discovered smoked mackerel and I love it! It's fairly cheap, relatively easy to find, at least around here, and can be integrated into a delicious appetizer in less time than it takes to spell the word 'delicious'.
A few months ago, I went to a nice local restaurant called Les Fougères for Fufu’s birthday and had smoked mackerel served on avocado salad with a touch of hoisin sauce. Both Fufu and I loved the dish and got me thinking a lot. The idea is so simple and the taste was simply fantastic. Aki and Alex of Ideas in Food seemed to agree by choosing a slightly different version of this dish for their maple syrup menu. Tonight I made my own version for the first time and served it as an appetizer. We didn’t have any hoisin sauce (I left my bottle at my mom’s place during the holidays) so I mixed together some oyster sauce, hot sauce and a touch of vinegar to make a different sauce which worked quite well. The avocados were diced with a bit of tomatoes (which is totally unnecessary but add a nice touch of red) and sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice.
The next time however, because there will be a next time, I will be more gentle with the sauce. Less sauce poured in finer droplets would improve presentation but also the overall mouth feel since this kind of sauce is quite powerful when taken alone or in too large quantity. I would also chop the avocado more finely for a nicer presentation. I am not sure whether or not I prefer the skin-on or skinless version of the dish; the mackerel skin is beautiful and definitively flavourful but is a bit too chewy to integrate well with the other ingredients. A slight sweet onion (or even chayote) crunch would also improve the avocado salad while a delicate sprinkle of chopped cilantro would add an attractive and fragrant finish to the whole dish.