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Mackerel escabeche

You'll need

125 gm (½ cup) fine sea salt 2 kg mackerel fillets (about 8 fillets) 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 small dried red chillies 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 fresh bay leaf 1 small onion, thinly sliced 310 ml (1¼ cups) white wine vinegar 2 tbsp marjoram 1 tsp whole black peppercorns ½ tsp cumin seeds


  • 01
  • Bring salt and 450ml water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve salt, then cool to room temperature. Place mackerel in a non-reactive container, pour brine over, cover and refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
  • 02
  • Drain mackerel (discard brine) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add chilli, garlic and bay leaf, then cook mackerel in batches, turning once, until browned (2-3 minutes each side). Transfer to a non-reactive container and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Add onion to pan, stir occasionally until tender (7-8 minutes), add vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in marjoram, peppercorns and cumin seeds.
  • 04
  • Pour vinegar mixture over mackerel, cover and refrigerate to pickle (2 days). Mackerel escabeche will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Mackerel's oily flesh shines when it's pickled ñ the flesh remains moist and the flavour of the fish balances the vinegar. You can serve the flaked fish in a soft brioche roll with watercress, shredded apple and witlof and mustard mayonnaise. It also makes a great side dish: stir the fish through a creamy layered goat's cheese and potato bake or combine it with mint and flat-leaf parsley to make a salad. You'll need to begin this recipe two days ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Grapy, off-dry riesling.

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