• STEP 1

    Lay the mackerel fillets, skinside down, in a shallow dish, then sprinkle with the fennel seeds and 1 1/2 tbsp flaky salt, making sure you cover the fish evenly. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hr, then remove, wash off the salt and fennel seeds, and pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.

  • STEP 2

    Return the fish to the shallow dish, skin-side up, pour over the olive oil and scatter over the shallots. Put the sugar, lemon juice and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then pour the hot liquid over the fish. Leave to cool, cover in cling film and put in the fridge to marinate overnight.

  • STEP 3

    The next day, remove the fish from the fridge 1 hr before serving to bring it to room temperature, then transfer to a serving plate. Stir in the olives, celery and celery leaves. Leave for a few mins, then serve with lemon wedges and a couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche.


As an oily fish, mackerel spoils quickly. Try to buy it from a fishmonger on the day you are going to use it. Look for clear, bright eyes, firm bodies and pink or bright-red gills. Avoid mackerel with dull, wrinkled skin.

Goes well with


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 5 out of 5.2 ratings