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Mackerel escabeche

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Mackerel escabeche

By Rodney Dunn
  • Serves 8
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus cooling, pickling
Mackerel escabeche
Mackerel escabeche

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.


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


  • 1
    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).
  • 2
    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.
  • 3
    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.
  • 4
    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 .
Drink Suggestion: Grapy, off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Rodney Dunn