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Mackerel with pickled cucumber, horseradish and herbs

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Mackerel with pickled cucumber, horseradish and herbs by Brett Graham, The Ledbury

By Brett Graham
  • Serves 4
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus pickling
Mackerel with pickled cucumber, horseradish and herbs
Mackerel with pickled cucumber, horseradish and herbs

“Mackerel is such a wonderful fish and also one of the most under-used,” says Graham. At The Harwood Arms, he cooks it over a charcoal flame. “Grilling it in this fashion is my favourite way of preparing mackerel.”


  • 60 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 4 mackerel fillets (140gm each), pin-boned
  • 20 gm horseradish, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp each dill, chervil, tarragon, chives, micro-coriander and rocket cress
Pickled cucumber
  • 200 ml apple juice
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (loosely packed)
  • 25 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp nori powder (see note)
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced on a mandolin


  • 1
    For pickled cucumber, combine ingredients (except cucumber) in a blender with 250ml water and ½ tsp sea salt flakes and blend to combine, then strain through a fine sieve into a non-reactive bowl, add cucumber and stand at room temperature to pickle (3-3½ hours). Drain and reserve cucumbers and pickling liquid separately.
  • 2
    Preheat a woodfired or charcoal barbecue (or a char-grill pan) to high heat. Mix oil, Sherry vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside. Drizzle mackerel with extra oil, season both sides with salt to taste, then cook skin-side down until skin is well grilled and crisp (3-4 minutes). Turn and cook until almost cooked through (1-2 minutes; do not overcook).
  • 3
    Arrange cucumbers and fish on plates, drizzle with a little pickling liquid, scatter with horseradish and herbs and serve warm.


Nori powder is available from Japanese grocers. If it’s unavailable, fold half a sheet of nori into a small rectangle and chop very finely.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Slightly off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Luke Robertson

  • Author: Brett Graham