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Mackerel caponata

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian recipe for mackerel caponata

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
Mackerel caponata
Mackerel caponata


  • 4 blue mackerel cutlets (240gm each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 gm butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ Spanish onion, cut into wedges
  • 500 ml passata (2 cups)
  • 60 ml aged red wine vinegar (¼ cup)
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins (see note)
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Bella dí Cerígnola olives (see note)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp marjoram leaves
  • 2 inner stalks of celery, thinly sliced widthways, blanched and refreshed in iced water
  • 1 large eggplant, very thinly sliced widthways
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  • 1
    Season mackerel to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add butter and when foaming add mackerel and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining olive oil, garlic and onion to pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes or until just soft, then add passata, vinegar, raisins, capers, olives, bay leaves and sugar and cook for 5 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Add marjoram, celery and mackerel and cook for 1 minute to warm through and season to taste.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat enough vegetable oil in a separate frying pan over medium-high heat until oil starts to shimmer. Cook eggplant, in batches, turning occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
  • 3
    To serve, divide mackerel caponata between plates, top with eggplant, scatter with pine nuts, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with beans to the side.


Golden raisins are available online from
. Bella dí Cerígnola olives are a mix of giant Kalamata olives at different levels of maturity, available from Italian delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute with large Spanish green olives.
Drink Suggestion: Fresh, young Hunter semillon. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Lisa Featherby