Mackerel with Tomatoes

This is an easy and healthy preparation when you want to treat yourself to something good that is also good for you but don’t have a lot of time to fuss in the kitchen. Mackerel is an inexpensive, firm-fleshed oily fish that holds up well to braising, remaining moist and firm in the oven. You don’t have to worry much about overcooking this dish and having either the fish fall apart or dry out. It can be prepared with fresh tomatoes when the season permits or good quality canned tomatoes for a more intense tomato flavor. Serve with pasta or boiled potatoes and a crusty bread to sop up the juices.

Based on the recipe Mackerels with Tomatoes in Recipes from Provence by René Husson

2 whole mackerel (about 1 lb. each) cleaned and patted dry
Fennel stalks – just the top part; save the bulb for a later use
Oil for sautéing vegetables
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1lb tomatoes (about 3 medium), peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatos, drained
½ cup non-oaked white wine
1 sprig fresh thyme or ½ t dry
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T minced parsley

Preheat oven to 375°

Place a branch or two of fennel inside each of the fish and lay them in a baking dish large enough to hold the fish with the tomato sauce.

In a skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and thyme and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the fish and cover. Place in the middle of the oven and cook until the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.