A plate serving grilled mackerel with pickled gooseberry ketchup

Grilled mackerel with pickled gooseberry ketchup

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(1 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 30 mins plus cooling and at least 2 hrs pickling

More effort

Serves 4

For your next dinner party try this classic combination of rich, oily mackerel with sour gooseberries. You can also use white grapes in place of the berries

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal543
  • fat38g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs15g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre2g
  • protein33g
  • salt2g


  • 2 fresh mackerel, filleted and pin boned, each fillet cut across the grain into three pieces


    Mackerel is a firm-fleshed, torpedo-shaped sea fish. Whole mackerel weigh in around 10-12oz (…

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp dill, leaves picked, to serve

For the pickled gooseberry ketchup

  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g gooseberries, washed



    The size of large grapes, but with a more spherical shape, gooseberries are related to the…

  • ½ cucumber, cut into ribbons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • pinch fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 1 onion, finely sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored and cubed



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 100g thick, live natural yogurt


  1. First, pickle the gooseberries. Put the vinegar, sugar, sea salt, juniper berries, mustard seeds, peppercorns, bay leaf and 150ml water in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 mins, then infuse for 10 mins. Put the gooseberries and cucumber ribbons in a dry, sterilised jar, add the bay leaf from the pan and pour over the pickling mixture and aromatics. Seal with a lid and allow to pickle for at least two hrs or preferably overnight.

  2. Lay the mackerel pieces on a plate, skin-side down, and sprinkle the flesh with the sea salt. Allow to come to room temperature while you finish making the ketchup. Heat the olive oil and fennel seeds, add the onion, apple, garlic and chilli, season and cook for 8-10 mins, stirring, until the onion is soft and aromatic.

  3. Drain the gooseberries and cucumber, reserving the pickling liquor. Set aside the cucumber and a handful of the gooseberries. Slice the rest of the gooseberries and add to the onion and apple mix, along with the brown sugar and 1 tbsp of the pickling juice. Stir until the gooseberries have broken down and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 mins. Taste for salt, and add a little more to balance the flavours if necessary. Blend using a stick blender or food processor to a smooth consistency, then leave to cool. Once cool, mix the ketchup through the yogurt.

  4. Heat grill to its highest heat. Submerge the mackerel pieces in the reserved pickling liquor, then put on a baking sheet or grill pan, skin-side up. Grill the mackerel for 2-4 mins until the fish is just cooked through – it should be just opaque rather than dry and flaking.

  5. Divide the ketchup between two plates and top with the reserved pickled cucumber and gooseberries. Put the mackerel pieces on top and garnish with dill.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Michael Jaqua's picture
Michael Jaqua
18th Jun, 2019
I was looking for something fun to do with my gooseberries and found this recipe. It sounds great, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try!
29th Jun, 2020
Do you think this ketchup would keep well (before adding the yoghurt) - like a chutney say?
lulu_grimes's picture
1st Jul, 2020
Hi, There isn't enough vinegar to preserve this for long, however you could freeze it before adding the yogurt if you wanted to. Lulu
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