Holy mackerel, Batman! Mackerel recipes to try at home.
To celebrate the start of Seafood Week (5-12 October) we’ve got a selection of delicious mackerel recipes for you to enjoy.
Our level of difficulty rating is completely tongue in cheek, based on Mrs. Otter Vale’s culinary skills – she loves eating, but leaves the cooking to Granny and Mr. Otter Vale!
Mackerel is a fish which can be cooked in a number of ways, which makes it interesting to both home cooks and chefs. It’s often paired with sweet and acidic flavours to complement the oily, strong flavour, such as beetroot, gooseberry, chilli, tangy tomato and even lemon sherbet! We love it with our refreshing Otter Vale Gooseberry & Elderflower Chutney, which also pairs beautifully with goat’s cheese, as well as smoked salmon on toast!
Remember, you can find out more information about mackerel and sustainable fish choices here. You can also read our interview with local fishmonger James England from Greendale Farm Shop and watch a video of him demonstrating how to prepare mackerel for cooking here.
Level of “Difficulty” Guide:
Otterly quick, otterly simple: Mrs. Otter Vale can do tea and toast, so these should be manageable.
Otterly doable: Mrs. Otter Vale begins to break a sweat; Mr. Otter Vale rolls his eyes and rolls up his sleeves.
Otterly special, otterly delicious: Mr. Otter Vale is in his element; fancying himself a bit. But he still might call his mum, just to check!
Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Otter Vale Gooseberry & Elderflower Chutney
Difficulty level: Otterly quick, otterly simple!
If you’d prefer to buy your smoked mackerel pâté, we recommend popping in to Greendale farm shop and picking up some the fishmongers have prepared. Whilst you’re there, pick up some delicious bread of your choice and a jar of Otter Vale Gooseberry & Elderflower Chutney. Simply spread the pâté on the bread, put a dollop of chutney on top and enjoy!
Alternatively, you can follow this simple recipe to make your own smoked mackerel pâté. It serves two and takes about five minutes to prepare:
1 whole smoked mackerel or 2 fillets
200g cream cheese
1 tbsp crème fraiche
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly crushed black peppercorns
Remove skin and bones from the smoked mackerel fillets.
Place the flesh in a food processor and blitz for 2 minutes.
Add the cream cheese, crème fraiche and blitz for a further minute until you have a smooth paste.
Add the lemon juice, peppercorns and salt to taste, blending to ensure it’s thoroughly mixed.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve on fresh crunchy bread and enjoy.
Your pate can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Difficulty level: Otterly doable
Mackerel does well cooked on the barbecue, particularly if you start with a clean grill and a well-oiled fish. Cooking it whole (but gutted) makes it less likely that you’ll overcook it too. You’ll know it’s ready when the eyes turn milky and the skin is easy to remove. At this stage, the meat will flake and retain its moisture. One fish per person is usually enough, depending on huger levels and accompaniments! Serve with accompaniments of your choice. We like a celeriac mash in September, and seasonal vegetables at other times; accompanied by our Gooseberry & Elderflower Chutney.
However, we have another treat in store for you.
We are honoured to share with you a recipe from our friend Sue Stoneman. Sue needs no introduction if you’re no novice on the Devon foodie scene, but just in case you’re not from round ‘ere, Sue was South West Chef of the Year‘s winner of the Home Cook in 2016 and 2017, has been West Country Baking Champion, Sticky Toffee Pudding Champion, AND is a food writer, and a blogger with Dining Devon. She also is renowned as somewhat of an expert on al fresco cooking, both on BBQs and in her own wood-fired oven, and is in demand as a demonstrator throughout the region. Oh, and she also has a day job at Big Fire, at The Shops @ Dartington! Three things we love about Sue – she is a strong supporter of local produce, has some great scarves and is just the loveliest person. So, let’s find out Sue’s Secrets when it comes to cooking mackerel.
Sue Stoneman’s Simply Grilled Fresh Mackerel
You can’t beat freshly caught fish grilled over coals, simply seasoned and served on their own or with your favourite sides. Mr. S. and I love our BBQ’d mackerel with some little baked potatoes, cherry tomatoes, salad and a large dollop of Otter Vale’s Devon Fire Chutney which we always have a jar of in the fridge.
Here’s what you need:
Freshly caught mackerel (one per person)
Salt & Pepper
Bowl of salad
Cherry tomatoes on the vine
BBQ (or grill indoors)
(Photo courtesy of Mr. & @Sue_Stoneman)
What to do:
Get your BBQ lit.
Gut the fish, (we prefer to keep the heads on). Wash and pat dry with kitchen paper. If you’re not keen on gutting, ask your fishmonger to do it for you.
Season with salt and pepper.
Boil 6-8 potatoes til just tender. Put on skewers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Oil your BBQ grill. This will prevent the fish from sticking. Place the grill over the coals and get it nice and hot.
Place the mackerel and the skewered potatoes on the BBQ.
When you see the skin start to crispen up, it’s time to carefully turn them over.
Cook for another few minutes. The length of time to cook your fish will depend on how big they are. They will not take very long.
Serve hot with the potatoes, salad and of course a large dollop of Devon Fire Chutney.
Simple and scrumptious.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. & @Sue_Stoneman)
Cured Mackerel, Fermented Gooseberries and Elderflower
Difficulty Level: Otterly special, otterly delicious
Michael Bremner’s recipe is available from Great British Chefs. It serves 4, and should take about 1h 15mins to make – once you’ve fermented the gooseberries for 7 days! So, if you want to make this in a bit of a hurry, we suggest substituting our Gooseberry & Elderflower Chutney – you’ll lose the chilli taste, but it’ll suddenly be quick and easy!
2 large mackerel, as fresh as possible
75g of flaky sea salt
20g of caster sugar
250g of gooseberries
250ml of yoghurt whey
6 lemons, juiced
6 limes, juiced
1/2 mild red chilli, deseeded
1/2 cucumber, peeled
Elderflower cordial, 25–50ml
1.5g of xanthan gum
Wash the gooseberries, remove any stalks and place in a sterile sealable container. Pour in the whey, ensuring the berries are completely submerged, and seal the container. Store at room temperature for at least 7 days
On the day of serving, fillet the mackerel (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you, if preferred), season with the salt and sugar and set aside to cure for 1 hour
Meanwhile, make the elderflower dressing. Blend the citrus juices with the chilli and cucumber until smooth and pass through a fine sieve
Season with elderflower cordial to taste – it’s best to use around 25ml to start, then add more if needed. Add the xanthan gum and blend again until hydrated to thicken the mixture
Drain a handful of the fermented gooseberries from the whey and pat dry. Cut into slices and set aside
Peel away the fine skin of each mackerel fillet and remove any pin bones. Trim the fillets to neaten. To serve, slice the mackerel into thin slices (1cm maximum) at a 45˚ angle. Arrange on plates, dress with the elderflower dressing and garnish with fermented gooseberries and nasturtium leaves
We hope you try and enjoy some of these recipes, and we’d love to know what you think!
The Otter Vale Family.