Whole baked mackerel with spiced cherry sauce

by Angela Clutton

Angela Clutton shows off the effectiveness of a perfectly paired fruit sauce

Simply cook down some pitted cherries with red wine and spices for a quick sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to so many summer dishes—especially whole baked mackerel. The sauce will keep for 3 days or so in the fridge.

For more fruit sauce pairing inspiration, read Angela’s latest article


300g cherries
1 star anise
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
100ml red wine
2 tbsp red wine vinegar or cherry vinegar
4 mackerel, gutted
Olive oil, for rubbing
Thyme, for stuffing


Halve the cherries and discard the stones. Put the cherries into a small saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and season. Partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 5-10 mins as the fruit collapses and the liquid reduces. Crush the fruit with a potato masher if you want to give the cherries a helping hand. It is ready when the consistency of a nice mix of still-visible fruit and juices just running.

Take the lid off to reduce the liquid more if needed. Check the seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Slash the skins of 4 gutted mackerel, rub with olive oil and salt, then stuff sprigs of thyme into the body of the fish. Bake for 20 mins and serve with the cherry sauce.

Recipe: Angela Clutton
Image: Kim Lightbody