Mark Greenaway's blackened mackerel with a salad of orange segments and beetroot pickled shallots

Posted by admin on 29th September 2014

To have a healthy balanced diet we should be eating at least two portions of fresh fish a week including one that is oily, such as mackerel. Fish and shellfish are good sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals, and oily fish is particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Mackerel is still, in my opinion, looked down upon as a cheap fish or a “poor man’s fish” but in my mind it has such amazing fresh flavour that it really can't be overlooked. Add a little citrus and a little salt and the flavour really does just burst out and sing.

This is a dish we will be putting on our lunch menu in the coming weeks when mackerel will be in abundance and plentiful. This also works amazingly well on a BBQ as the skin really blisters up and you get that BBQ smokey flavour.

Did you know: each female mackerel lays 300,000 to 1,500,000 eggs at one time.



  • 4 Fillets of Mackerel
  • 2 Oranges
  • Baby Herbs or Wild Herbs/Flowers
  • Scottish Hebridean Sea Salt
  • Good quality Scottish Rapeseed Oil

For the pickled shallots:

  • 4 shallots (peeled)
  • 100mls beetroot juice
  • 25mls red wine vinegar
  • 4 coriander seeds
  • 1 star anise


  1. Peel your shallots into separate layers and set aside (this is done best by cutting each shallot into quarters and using a small knife just tease the layers apart)
  2. In a heavy based pan add all the pickling ingredients together and bring to the boil
  3. Pour the boiling liquid over your shallots and leave to go cold, this will turn the shallots an amazing crimson red colour and impart flavour at the same time.

To prep and cook the mackerel:

  1. Ask the fishmonger to remove the bones, after all that is what they are there for. If you need to do it yourself, just run your knife down both sides of the bones and simply peel out the bones in one go.
  2. Pre heat the grill or salamander on its highest setting for a good 10 minutes. Place your mackerel fillets skin side up and drizzle a little oil and salt over each.
  3. Place under the grill for 4/5 minutes until the skin blisters and goes slightly black, this will cook the fish through so you won't need to turn it.

For the salad:

Segment your orange by peeling all the skin off and working your knife in between each brain to release the segments without any pith, reserving any juice that drips off in the process, squeeze the pith to release any more juice.

To build the dish

Place mackerel fillets on the bottom of the plate and scatter around beetroot pickled shallots and orange segments, scatter over some of the baby herbs and lastly just drizzle over some of the pickling liqueur and orange juice as a wee dressing.