Mackerel escabeche

Mackerel escabeche

Kitchin Suppers
Laura Edwards

Mackerel was the very first fish I caught as a youngster and it is now a staple on my summer menu – both at the restaurant and at home. Sustainable and healthy, it’s also great value for money, but it must be eaten extremely fresh. Here I have added my own lively flavour twist to the traditional Mediterranean technique of escabeche, with orange and fennel seeds.


Quantity Ingredient
4 line-caught mackerel fillets
50ml extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
Bouquet garni
3 star anise
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
200ml white wine
4 oranges, juiced
400ml Fish stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Check the mackerel fillets for pin-bones, removing any you find with kitchen tweezers.
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based wide pan, add the carrots and sweat over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes. Add the shallots, bouquet garni, star anise, fennel and coriander seeds and sweat for a further 2–3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the white wine, orange juice and fish stock and cook slowly, uncovered, for 10–12 minutes until the carrots are just tender; check with a small, sharp knife.
  4. Now place the mackerel fillets, skin side up, on top of the vegetables, making sure the fillets are covered by the liquid. Cook for 2 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Cover the pan tightly with cling film and set aside for 5 minutes; the mackerel will continue to cook in the residual heat.
  6. Remove the cling film. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed, then serve the escabeche.
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