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Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

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Cooking time

Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

Skill level



Serves 2

Seafood recipes that include parmesan have always been something we’re wary of at Gills. However, the smokey, salty taste of the mackerel makes a wonderful alternative to bacon. We added samphire and wild garlic to the dish to make the most of seasonal ingredients – however, it’s up to you what veg you want to include (mushrooms and spinach would be dreamy). Tasty, quick and comforting – it’s a great midweek dinner

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  • 200g spaghetti
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40g parmesan (plus extra for serving
  • 1 fillet of smoked mackerel (sustainably sourced)
  • Healthy handful of rocket
  • Half an onion
  • 2 wild garlic leaves
  • Handful of samphire
  • 1 sprig of rosemary


  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions Meanwhile, chop your onion up into small pieces and then cut the mackerel into chunks around 2cm in size.

  2. Get your medium sized frying pan and add a glug of oil. Put onto a medium heat and add the onions and a little pepper. Meanwhile, chop the rosemary leaves and wild garlic.

  3. After five minutes, or once the onions have begun to go translucent add the rosemary and mackerel. Cook for three minutes before adding the samphire and garlic leaves and cook for a further two minutes, until the mackerel has browned slightly and the wild garlic has wilted.

  4. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and parmesan – this will be your carbonara sauce. If you like yours a little wetter, you can add a splash of milk. Drain the pasta, reserving an espresso cup of water and add the pasta to the mackerel dish.

  5. Take the pan off the heat for a few seconds and add the cooled pasta water. This will bring down the temperature of the dish and stop your sauce from turning to scrambled eggs as it hits the pan

  6. Add the egg mixture and stir through the dish, coating the pasta with the silky mixture.

  7. Plate up and top with parmesan, a squeeze of lemon and a good twist of black pepper. We added little chilli flakes and lemon zest to brighten up the dish a little but this is optional.

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