Soused mackerel recipe

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There are loads of mackerel in English waters in the summer, and they’re easy to catch. Sousing – soaking in a spiced pickling liquid – is a good way to prepare them. The souse here is slightly sweet/sour, which is a good foil for the rich fish.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 6 mackerel fillets
  • 2 tsp salt
  • boiled new potatoes to serve
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 100 g shallots, thinly sliced
  • 70 g carrot, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 70 g fennel, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 20 coriander seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 150 ml cider vinegar
How to Make It
  1. Lay the mackerel fillets in a large flat dish and sprinkle salt over both sides. Spread out the fillets in a single layer, cover and leave for 3–4 hours.
  2. With a peeler, cut thin strips of peel from the lemon and orange, then squeeze out the juice.
  3. Put all the souse ingredients, with the lemon and orange peel and juice, in a stainless-steel pan. Add 100 ml water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool.
  4. Drain off any liquid from the fish. Pour over the cool souse. Shake the dish to get the liquid everywhere, then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
  5. Serve the fish with some of the souse vegetables and boiled new potatoes.

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