Mackerel is one of the most environmentally friendly fish globally and an excellent choice for anyone concerned about overfishing, food safety, and health.
Look no further than Mackerel if you're looking for a tasty way to get healthy fats into your diet while supporting sustainable fisheries and oceans.
What is Mackerel?
Mackerel are part of the family of fish called Scombridae. They can be cooked in several different ways, but it is most often grilled or broiled as a whole fish. Mackerel can also be pan-fried or sautéed in fillets. It's important not to overcook Mackerel, as this will dry out the flesh and make it hard to eat. If you'd like to try cooking a whole mackerel, remember that it should be gutted and cleaned before cooking. If you're using fillets, here's how your new favourite recipe is going to come together:
- Mix some flour with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you prefer (I like paprika).
- Inside a frying pan, melt some butter until it bubbles slightly (don't let the heat become too high).
- Dip pieces of Mackerel into the flour before placing them in the hot butter.
- Cook for about three minutes on each side, or until golden brown—you want your fish bap nice and crispy!
Mackerel has a robust and distinct flavour that typically appeals to people who like a more robust fish taste. It's meaty and oily, and the flesh is firm and flaky. It's higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other types of fish like cod or haddock, so you're getting a more nutrient-dense product for your money (omega-3s are closely related to brain health). Mackerel has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and even help with depression!
Smoked Mackerel can be eaten on its own or used in recipes. The most popular smoked mackerel recipe is pate—it's easy because all you need to do is mash it up and spread it on bread. You won't find grilled Mackerel on many menus as smoked Mackerel, but if you're adventurous, give it a try! It tastes great when cooked over charcoal with lemon juice squeezed over the top.
In short: Mackerel will fulfil your wildest seafood fantasies.
Do I have to eat Mackerel raw, or can I cook it?
You can cook Mackerel in a number of different ways:
- Grilled - Skewer and grill over a medium temperature until firm (approximately 3-5 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges.
- Pan-fried - Dust lightly with flour and pan-fry in butter over medium heat until crispy. Serve hot or cold as fishcakes, fish fingers, or goujons.
- Broiled - Place fillets on foil, brush lightly with oil, and season. Wrap well and broil until cooked throughout (approximately 5-6 minutes). Serve hot or cold with salad garnish.
- Baked - Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes per pound until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F.
- Steamed - Place fillets on top of a steamer for 8 to 10 minutes depending upon the thickness of the fish; serve warm with lemon wedges and fresh parsley leaves sprinkled over the top.
How healthy is Mackerel for you?
Mackerel is a fish that's been around for centuries, but it's still not as well-known or appreciated as it should be.
As far as health benefits go, there's a lot to like about Mackerel. You'll get a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids (which are great for reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure), protein, and vitamin B12. It's also lower in mercury than other types of fish like tuna and swordfish.
Research has found that eating more Mackerel can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol. Mackerel is known for its immune-boosting properties as well—in fact, studies have shown that it can help prevent some autoimmune diseases when eaten regularly. Lastly, Mackerel's high levels of lutein also make it suitable for your eyes; it provides protection from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in older adults).
Is Mackerel a Superfood?
Because Mackerel has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, it's considered by many to be a superfood.
But what else can Mackerel do for you? A lot, actually.
The omega-3 fats in Mackerel are the same type of healthy fats found in salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish. They protect your heart by lowering triglycerides and blood pressure, reducing inflammation in the body, and reducing the risk of plaque buildup that leads to heart disease and stroke. Mackerel is also a good source of vitamin D, which helps with bone health and contributes to a healthy immune system. It's also what gives your skin its glow!
Is it safe to eat Mackerel when pregnant?
While you're pregnant, it's crucial to reduce the amount of mercury in your diet to minimize any possible risks to your baby. But according to research, eating Mackerel can help support the development of your baby's brain and eyesight by providing essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Eating fish during pregnancy is linked with:
- improved cognitive function in babies
- better eyesight
- reduced risk of allergies later in life
A word of caution. Experts warn that you shouldn't eat more than two servings per week of Mackerel because it can contain high levels of mercury which could be harmful if consumed in large quantities regularly. So make sure not to overdo it.
How to cook mackerel fish
Below, I will discuss how to cook mackerel fish:
#1 Wash the fish and set them aside
Wash each fish thoroughly with clean water to remove dirt and mud. Soak each fish for a minute and carefully rub the scales until they are clean. Wash out the gills, but do not wash the intestines once you have opened them. Rinse the fish under running water for 30 seconds and wait for one minute before cooking.
#2 Get a large bowl and mix all the spices
To make the best yet easiest mackerel dish, use these spices in a large bowl:
- 1/3 cup of salt
- 1/8 cup of pepper
- Three tablespoons of paprika
Add the appropriate amount of each spice to the bowl.
#3 Add the tomato paste to the spice mix
Add some tomato paste because it thickens the sauce to coat the fish nicely, but it also adds a depth of flavour and a lovely dark-red colour. Plus, because tomato is an acidic fruit, it can help balance out the dish's richness.
#4 Add little water to the above mix
Add little water to the above mix to make a thick paste. If you want, you can add onion powder and garlic powder too.
#5 Spread this mix on both sides of the fish
Spread the mix on both sides of the fish. Make sure you get it everywhere, so it's evenly coated with the mixture. The mixture should be thick enough to stay on the fish, so add more egg if it's too thin.
#6 Heat a pan and spread some oil on it
Once the pan is hot, spread a little oil on it and add more if you need to. If you're planning on frying Mackerel, you'll need to use more oil. However, if you're making grilled Mackerel, the amount of oil typically used for cooking other food will be sufficient.
When you are sure the fish is done, turn off the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes; this ensures that the mackerel fish does not get overcooked. Serve hot with fried plantain, yams, or any side dish.
Different Types of Mackerel in the Market
As you know, there are plenty of types of Mackerel on the market. Some of them are:
Japanese Spanish Mackerel
Japanese Spanish Mackerel is a fish with little to do with Japan or Spain. Although its scientific name reads like something out of a Jules Verne novel (Scomberomorus niphonius), it's found all over the world, including in the Atlantic Ocean.
This fish is particularly prized for its high-fat content. Its flavor varies between regions, but it has a robust and aromatic taste that requires careful cooking to avoid overpowering the fish's other qualities in the South Pacific. The best way to enjoy this fish is lightly steamed or poached and topped with ginger, scallion, and soy sauce.
It has yellow eyes and overall silvery-green colour, but you can tell it apart from other mackerels by its black spots below the first dorsal fin and above the lateral line on both sides of its body. It also has five or six dark streaks on each side of its body that extend forward from behind the pectoral fins—but what sets this type of Mackerel apart from others is its taste profile: it's super famous for sushi and sashimi because it's oily, tasty, and rich in flavour.
Pacific mackerel are a common fish in the marine ecosystem. They are an essential food source for many species and support fisheries throughout their range.
Pacific mackerel can be distinguished from other mackerel by counting the finlets on their back; Pacific mackerel typically have four to six finlets. Their bodies taper at both ends, making them easily identifiable while swimming underwater.
King mackerel, also known as kingfish, are popular game fish found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They can be seen from Massachusetts to Brazil and from California to Peru. They travel in schools over reefs and wrecks and can be caught from boats or piers.
These large mackerels can weigh up to 90 pounds. Anglers may use various fishing methods when seeking kingfish, including trolling with live bait or lures, kite fishing, and casting with jigs or spoons. Kingfish are a prized game fish because they fight hard when caught.
The Atlantic mackerel is a migratory fish species native to the North Atlantic. You'll know you have an Atlantic mackerel on your hands if you see one or more of these characteristics:
- A pair of dark, curved markings behind its pectoral fins
- A black blotch under its dorsal fin
- Short wavy lines on body sides
- It's between 17 and 24 inches long, or 43 to 60 centimetres long
- It eats smaller fish like sprats and herrings, as well as squid and crustaceans like krill
Amazing Recipes for Breakfast with Mackerel
What better way to start your day than with a delicious breakfast?
I've got some fantastic recipes for breakfast with Mackerel that you can make in no time.
#1 Grilled Mackerel with Jerusalem Artichoke Purée
- Four fresh mackerels, about 1.5 pounds each
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil with a little more to drizzle
- Season with salt plus freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Three medium Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Two tablespoons butter
- One tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus four sprigs for garnish
Rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the fish on a platter or tray and rub them inside and out with 1/2 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, making sure not to get any inside their gills. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or 8 hours. About 20 minutes before you think you might be ready to cook the fish, take it out of the refrigerator so it can come closer to room temperature. If you are using an outdoor gas grill, preheat it on high heat until very hot; if you are using an outdoor charcoal grill, prepare a medium-hot fire; if you are using an indoor ridged stovetop grill pan or a cast-iron skillet large enough to hold all four fish at once, place it over high heat until very hot but not to smoke; if you are cooking under a broiler indoors, adjust the rack so that it is several inches from heating element; allow sufficient time for it to preheat before the beginning cooking process.
#2 Smoked Mackerel with Scrambled Eggs and Mushroom-and-Tomato Relish
- One smoked mackerel fillet, skinned, any bones removed, and flesh broken into large flakes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Pack mushrooms, sliced
- Handful cherry tomatoes halved
- Two garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Five eggs, beaten
Combine the mushrooms and tomatoes in a bowl. Heat the oil in a pan and fry for 3 mins. Add the garlic and cook for another min. Stir through the vinegar. Cook for another min until all liquid has been absorbed, then tip into a bowl to cool slightly. Fry the Mackerel for about 2 mins on each side until golden (if you're using pre-cooked Mackerel, simply warm it through). Remove from heat. In a separate frying pan, cook your scrambled eggs as usual but remove from heat once they've just started to thicken – they will continue to cook in their heat – this ensures that they won't be overdone when served up with the relish. Serve up with hash browns or toast if desired.
#3 Smoked Mackerel with Beetroot, Celery, and Lemon Salad
- Two smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed
- Butter lettuce leaves to serve
- One lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
- 250g (8 oz) cooked beetroot, sliced into wedges or roughly chopped if small
- Four finely sliced celery stalks on the diagonal
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sour cream or plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve (optional)
Place the Mackerel in a bowl with half of each lemon zest and juice. Toss gently to coat. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the fish to absorb some lemon flavours. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl using all but one teaspoon of the remaining lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange lettuce leaves onto serving plates and divide salad amongst them. Flake the Mackerel over each salad and drizzle over any juices from the bowl along with additional sour cream or yoghurt if desired. Sprinkle over reserved lemon zest to finish.
Amazing Recipes for Lunch with Mackerel
Here are some simple, delicious ideas for lunch.
#1 Tomato and Mackerel Salad
Vibrant tomato, leafy fennel, and cooling cucumber make this a stand-out lunch option. Serve it as a main dish or starter; you can't go wrong either way.
- Four mackerel fillets
- 200g organic cherry tomatoes, halved
- One small organic fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve fronds)
- One small organic cucumber, deseeded and diced
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves, plus extra to garnish (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Season mackerel with a bit of salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes until just cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly before flaking into large chunks with a fork.
Combine tomatoes, fennel slices, and cucumber with mint and chives; season well to taste with salt and pepper. Gently toss in mackerel pieces, so they don't break up further if possible. Serve on individual plates or bowls topped with reserved fennel fronds for garnish if desired!
#2 Mackerel With Minted Pea Mash
Boil the peas, skin, and dice the onion, then mince three garlic cloves. Mix in a non-stick frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and sweat for 15 minutes until softened and caramelized. Add two chopped tomatoes and cook for four more minutes before adding 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir for another minute. Season with pepper only (salt isn't needed).
Put the mackerel fillets on a foil-lined baking tray and toss with the juice of ½ lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil, and pepper. Cook for 6–8 minutes on a medium grill, or until well cooked (it will flake easily when ready).
Serve with the pea mash alongside a green salad, if liked.
#3 Easy Mackerel Pasta
- One can of Mackerel is very important to use the one with tomato sauce; trust me
- Cream of mushroom soup can
- 3 cups of bow-tie pasta (or whatever pasta you like most)
Cook your pasta. If you don't know how to do it, I'm sorry. Add the can of cream of mushroom soup and mix it in well. Add your Mackerel and mix that in as well! The tomato sauce will add a nice pink tint to the soup mixture. Serve on plates or bowls and enjoy.
Tips: If you're looking for more protein but don't want to make tuna salad sandwiches, you might want to add a second can of Mackerel instead. You could also try adding some peas into the mixture just before serving!
Amazing Recipes for Dinner with Mackerel
Mackerel is the perfect fish for dinner, and I've got some great recipes for you to try! Let's dive in.
#1 Mackerel Stuffed with Herbs
- Four mackerel fillets, about 120g each, skin on
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, dill, and parsley (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Put the fish in an ovenproof dish; after combining the herbs with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Divide equally between the middle of each fillet, spreading it down the center without covering the skin. Season well again on both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Fold over like a book so that each fillet is double thickness with no stuffing. You must fold them carefully so they are completely sealed around the edges, or they will leak during cooking.
#2 Pumpernickel Mackerel
- Four mackerel fillets
- Four slices of pumpernickel bread
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- One tablespoon butter
- One lemon, zested and juiced
- Two tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the mackerel skin side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the pumpernickel slices on top of each piece of fish. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a small saucepan. Add the lemon zest, juice, and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat after 1 minute of simmering. Drizzle one tablespoon of the lemon butter sauce over each piece of fish before serving immediately.
Tips for sustainable seafood consumption
I've compiled a list of tips for sustainable seafood consumption to help you make better choices at the grocery store, on campus, and at your favorite restaurants.
#1. Educate yourself about what is sustainably harvested and what fish are currently overfished
It's also important to educate yourself about which species are currently overfished and which species are sustainably harvested.
Understanding the difference between sustainably harvested and overfished is crucial in keeping our oceans healthy. Overfishing occurs when too many fish of a particular species are caught, which can cause irreparable damage to that species' place in the food chain. As fish populations decline, fewer fish will be available for commercial fishing, making it harder for communities whose economies rely on this industry to survive. It may also result in economic losses for individuals dependent on fishing for food or recreation.
Sustainably harvested means that the number of a fish population being caught does not exceed what is naturally replaced by reproduction and growth each year—which ensures that populations stay stable or grow over time.
#2. Make choices that minimize your impact on the environment
To make the healthiest choices and minimize your impact on the environment, keep these tips in mind:
- Choose seafood that is harvested using methods that minimize bycatch. Techniques such as fishing with hooks and lines, or bottom trawling, can reduce bycatch of non-target species.
- Consume seafood that is harvested locally. When possible, choose seafood harvested through sustainable means within your own country—ideally locally. This can help prevent overexploitation of fish populations and reduce the environmental impact of shipping seafood long distances.
#3. Eat a wide variety of seafood to promote healthy ecosystems
When it comes to seafood consumption, variety is the spice of life.
Eating a wide variety of seafood is better for the environment. By relying on a large number of fish and shellfish species, you are increasing the resiliency of ocean ecosystems. In other words, if one type of fish becomes overfished or has a population crash due to disease, an ecosystem that relies on many different types will be much more resilient and able to recover quickly. For example, there have been instances where oyster populations in coastal areas have crashed because of infection or pollution, but mussel populations were unaffected. This is excellent news for both the mussels (you just gained more friends!) and those who eat mussels (your favourite dish hasn't disappeared). The only downside? If you are strictly a picky eater for seafood varieties—only eating shrimp or tuna—there is no guarantee that your favourite food will always be available in unlimited quantities since some species are becoming endangered.
Eating a wide variety of seafood is good for your health. Eating lots of different seafood also means that you'll likely get a more comprehensive range of vitamin and mineral intake! For example, shrimp and oysters contain high iron levels, while salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help with heart health. Eating a little bit from each category will ensure that you're getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy diet, so it's best not to limit yourself when choosing your next meal!
Where to buy your Frozen Mackerel
You don't want to drive all over town trying to find it at different grocery stores or seafood markets. Instead, you want one place where you can get all your frozen mackerel needs met—and that place is Niyis!
I know how frustrating it can be when you're looking for a particular type of fish, and all you can find are other types of fish in its place. You can be sure that Niyis.co.uk is stocked with only the freshest frozen Mackerel around.