Mackerel in Scapece

Mackerel in Scapece with Lemon Thyme and Sweet Peppers

By Mario Batali
Serves 4 people

1 pound mackerel fillet, cut diagonally into 2-inch diamonds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
10 to 15 saffron threads, crushed in a mortar and pestle
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


• Season the fish with salt and pepper.
• In a wide, deep sauté pan, combine the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the lemon juice, lemon thyme, red pepper flakes, saffron, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
• Add the fish chunks, adding a bit of water if needed to cover the fish, and simmer until the fish is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the fish to cool in the liquid.
• In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly to wilt the peppers.
• Once the peppers have begun to soften, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the mustard seeds, and garlic. Cook until the garlic is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
• Remove the mackerel pieces from the scapece and arrange in stacks on four chilled plates. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the saffron liquid over each serving and then sprinkle with the red pepper mixture. Serve immediately.

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