Mackerel is an oily fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They have been an important food source for thousands of years, and are especially important to the fishing communities of coastal Scotland.
Once in danger from overfishing, mackerel are now available through thoughtful and sustainable farming methods. They are beautiful to behold, with their dark blue tiger stripes over a pale blue, sometimes green, background and dazzlingly white undersides.
This recipe, with it’s simple stuffing and garnish allows both the beauty and flavour of the mackerel to shine, in addition to being speedy to both prepare and cook.
Broiled Mackerel with Butter Sauce
4 fresh mackerel, gutted
2 bulbs of fennel, cut into thin slices
For the stuffing
2 slices of fresh wholemeal bread made into breadcrumbs
2tbs each of chopped fresh dill, parsley, fennel, thyme, rosemary
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
Butter Sauce – see recipe here
a little caper pickle liquid
- Make the butter sauce:
- Add the capers and a little of the pickle liquid to taste.
- Wash and dry the fish.
- Scotch the outside of the mackerel in diamond shapes with a sharp knife.
- Mix the stuffing ingredients together and fill the insides of the mackerel. Don’t worry if there’s stuffing left over.
- Sprinkle the fish with salt and lay thin slices of butter over them.
- Lay slices of fennel on an oiled rack over a grillpan.
- Lay on some flakes of butter.
- Add the fish and cover with more butter.
- Lay over more fennel. Dot a little butter over the fennel, or brush lightly with oil, to prevent it burning.
- Grill under high heat for 5-6 minutes then turn the fish and grill the other side.
- To turn the fish, lay a wire rack over the top and hold the grill and the wire rack like the bread of a sandwich. Turn the whole over, so the underside of the fish is now uppermost, with the fennel on top.
- Grill for a further 5-6 minutes.
- While the fish is cooking, melt a little butter in a an and quickly stir fry any excess herb stuffing, until the breadcrumbs crisp up.
- Serve the fish on a bed of the fennel, sprinkled with the toasted crumbs, and butter sauce with capers on the side.