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Scotch bonnet smoked mackerel salad

Melissa Thompson

Fresh mackerel cured with Jamaican chilli salt and barbecued with piles of fresh veg

Recipe Meta


15 mins (plus marinating)


45 mins






  • 2 mackerel, butterflied (you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you)
  • 2 tbsp Pimento Hill Scotch Bonnet Chilli & Pimento Salt
  • 2 corn cobs, in their husks
  • 2 red peppers
  • 6 banana shallots, unpeeled
  • 200g new potatoes, halved and parboiled
  • 150g peas in their pods (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Pimento Hill Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam
  • 12 large lettuce leaves (for example, cos, butterhead, batavia, lollo rosso), washed and roughly torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to garnish
  • Parsley or chives, to garnish (optional)
  • A handful of applewood chips, soaked in water (optional)

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Pimento Hill Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper A pinch of salt


Place the mackerel flat on a tray, cut-side up. Sprinkle the flesh with the Scotch Bonnet Chilli & Pimento Salt and gently rub all over. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Return to the fridge uncovered for 2 hours.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together. Set aside.

Soak the corn cobs in water, keeping their husks on. Light your barbecue with the coals to one side. Once the coals are ready, fully open the top vents and half-open the bottom vents. Aim for a temperature of 180-200C.

Put the red peppers and shallots on the grill over the coals. Dress the potatoes and peas in the oil and a pinch of salt and add them to the grill (use a grill basket if you have one). Remove the corn cobs from the water and place onto the grill, away from the coals, still in their husks. Close the lid.

Check on the peppers and shallots every 5 mins or so, turning until blackened all over and soft in structure. The shallots will take around 15 mins and the peppers 20-25 mins. Once ready, remove to a bowl and cover with a towel. Leave for 10 mins before peeling and tearing into strips.

Once the corn kernels are bright yellow and plump, remove the husks and return the cobs to the fire, turning regularly until golden all over. Remove from the grill and chop into three pieces each. Keep turning the potatoes until golden all over, then remove.

To add a subtle smokiness to the fish, you might want add a handful of pre-soaked applewood chips to the coals at this stage. Take the mackerel out of the fridge and pat down to dry. Lay skin-side down on the grill away from the coals to cook indirectly. Make sure the fish are at least 6cm from the coals. Close the lid and cook for 15-20 mins.

Add the Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam to a heatproof bowl and place in the barbecue to loosen. Once the mackerel is cooked, brush the jam all over as thickly as possible, and then close the lid for a final 5 mins.

Add the lettuce leaves and cooked vegetables to a large bowl and stir in the dressing. Layer onto a large serving platter, leaves first followed by the potatoes and corn. Finally, lay the shallots and red pepper strips over the top. Lay the mackerel on top, in the middle. Garnish with chives or parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Images: Melissa Thompson

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