Mackerel and other small fish have been celebrated as high in omega-3s, vitamin D and low on the food chain. That last point means they don't accumulate heavy metals including mercury, like swordfish, tuna and other predatory, large fish. All this boils down to one simple fact: They're good for you.
Now, according to NPR, there's another reason to celebrate: The harvesting of these fish has been found to be significantly easier on the environment than other, more popular species. In fact, small fish are among the most energy- and carbon-efficient forms of protein production, according to a study conducted at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
There's a problem though, especially here in America, where strong, fishy flavors are often frowned upon by diners. The challenge is especially prevalent in kitchens at home, where the oily fish odors can linger for days. Mackerel-making may be out of reach of most American cooks, but the best way to change that is fostering some mackerel love, which is easy to do if you find it at the right restaurants.
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Try Teppo, where you can get mackerel a number of ways. Try it as sushi, as pictured above, if you just want a taste, or order it as sashimi to enjoy the entire fish. The chefs slice the meat from the bone and serve it alone, and then fry the bones up to a crunch for you to enjoy tail, head and all.
Omi is another great place to try on mackerel, especially if you're into big, fishy flavors. Their grilled salted fish is intense, but it's wholly delicious, especially served with all the side salads, condiments and pickles known as banchan.
Eat enough mackerel either way, and you just might get the courage to pick some up at the store to cook at home. It's readily available, and would be even more so if more of us indulged regularly, which is apparently good for everybody and everything, all around.