Holy Mackerel!


Fresh Grilled Mackerel with a fruity, aromatic citrus Salad

Mackerel is one of the healthiest foods out there, one we should eat often for the simple reason; this fish consists of a good amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and omega-3 fats. All of these play a key role in the prevention, as well as control of blood sugar levels, heart disease and cholesterol.
On top of that, Mackerel is loaded with Vitamins B12, B6, Potassium, Selenium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and a number of other goodies.
Mackerel is definitely one of nature's super rich sustainable foods that is cost effective, plentiful, with world wide availability and can be delicious if prepared properly.
Despite these amazing benefits, mackerel is often avoided at the dinner table simply because this fish has the tendency to taste pungent and at times even bitter. There are two reasons for this.
Mackerel is an oily fish. The oils make the fish taste pungent and, not many people know this, it is the membrane surrounding the stomach that leaves the bitter aftertaste.
Armed with this knowledge there are then only two ways to prepare this fish properly and both ways require the fish to be filleted, for the membrane to be removed and then to be either grilled/baked or smoked or both.
Grilling/baking and smoking mackerel brings about a unique umami transformation that makes the fish taste milder and even sweeter. The meat is juicy, soft and flaky, even after grilling.
I promise; Mackerel can taste beautiful like tuna or salmon and I will show you how I prepare this fish, combined with a fresh, fruity and herbal salad, in such a way that you too will come to love the taste and texture of this amazing yet underrated fish species.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
salad10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Fish
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 3-5Euro/US$


  • oven or a grill
  • Oven Tray


  • 2 whole mackerel filleted
  • 1 tsp each cumin seeds, coriander seeds toasted
  • ½ tsp each turmeric, chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander washed and chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley washed and chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin


  • Fillet the mackerel. Like all things this is not difficult if you know how. In case you don't then have someone else, like your fish monger, do the honour.
  • Here is a picture that shows where to remove the membrane. Very important if you want to avoid that bitter taste. The right side has the membrane removed. All you need is a sharp knife and just scrape away the membrane. It is very quick and easy.
  • Here is a picture that shows the cleaned fillets (with membranes cleaned)
  • Turn your oven on to 220°C (430°F). Place the fillets on an oven tray, skin side down.
    By the way, in case you were wondering; there is no need to add any oil, salt or anything else.
    Bake the fillets for about 15-20 minutes or until the flesh has turned a beautiful golden brown.
  • While the fish is baking you can make the salad.
  • Toast the cumin and the coriander seeds. then crush them using either a spice blender or a pestle and mortar.
  • Chop the fresh coriander and parsley
  • Squeeze the lemon. Then transfer all the spices, herbs oil and lemon to a salad bowl. Add the chopped onion and tomatoes and the lemon juice and give the salad a good stir.


You can eat this dish either as a main course or starter.
If you like it more spicy then add add some of your favourite hot sauce. Also the lemon can be substituted for lime.
Either way ... Enjoy!

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