Mackerel three ways

by Luke Mackay

A showcase of the versatility of this oily, economical fish

For this you’ll need 4 medium-large mackerel fillets, cut laterally into thirds. 


For the pickled mackerel:
4 middle mackerel portions
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
125ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chopped dill

For mackerel tartare:
4 tail end mackerel portions, skinned and finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
50ml crème fraiche
50g chives, finely chopped

For grilled mackerel:
4 throat end mackerel portions
Olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon


First make the pickled mackerel. Place the mackerel in a glass ovenproof dish and cover with the red onion. Add the coriander and peppercorns to a dry saucepan. Heat for a few mins. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Stir thoroughly and pour over the mackerel. Allow to cool then remove the mackerel fillets.

For the tartare, mix all of the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until required.

To grill the mackerel, place the fillets skin side up on a grill pan and brush with olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Get your grill as hot as possible and place your mackerel under it, as close as you dare. Watch the mackerel cook! You want the skin to blister and char—about 5 mins. Remove from the grill, season with lemon juice and set aside. It will continue to cook while it rests.

To serve, place each component on a plate and serve with some rye bread and a watercress salad.

Recipe: Luke Mackay