There is something incredibly honest about this dish which travels under the rather sophisticated title of “maquereaux aux vin blanc” which clearly illustrates the allure of all things foreign and exotic. It’s cheap. easily available, very delicious, lacking in pretension and easy to prepare. These qualities are the cornerstone of cuisine bourgeoise, or what was bistrot food before it became too difficult to produce. Memories of La Regalade, L’Epi Dupin et L’Avant Gout have been replaced by the food of chefs determined to make a name for themselves, rather than make delicious simple food for their customers. Stiff, bright eyed mackerel are cheap as chips and are easy to fillet. Should you not believe that, ask the fish monger to do that for you. A good bottle of Muscadet, a carrot, a lemon, an onion, bay leaves, thyme and seasoning are the other exotic ingredients. That which charms me about this dish is that it is very distant from fast. The wine and other ingredients, except for the mackerel fillets, are heated in a low sided sauteuse, the liquid reduced by half. Off the heat, the mackerel fillets are introduced to the warm liquor and left to cool. Once cooled, gently lift the fillets into a dish and cover them with the wine and vegetables. This dish should sit in the fridge for a good 48 hours to develop its flavour. The fillets should be eaten with good bread and sweet butter, not forgetting a bottle of whatever white wine in which they were marinated. In the right place with the right people this food doesn’t disappoint and is a clear reminder of how simple it all is.