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Marinated mackerel with green olive & celery dressing

Marinated mackerel with green olive & celery dressing

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • plus 1 hr pickling and overnight marinating
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Mackerel is undoubtedly a British superfood but it can leave your kitchen full of pungent aromas. You can avoid this by lightly pickling instead of cooking it, like in this fresh-tasting recipe

  • Gluten-free
Nutrition: per serving


  • 2 mackerel , filleted and pin bones removed
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds , toasted
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 3 banana shallots , sliced into rings
  • 1 ½ tbsp golden caster sugar
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 10 green olives , pitted and halved
  • 2 celery sticks , thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 tsp chopped celery leaves
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • crème fraîche , to serve (optional)


  • 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

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2016


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