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  • Recipe Picture
  • Mackerel chermoula

Mackerel with North African spices 

added on 1/10/2010 by DaveMackerel is one of my favourite fishes. Add to that the fact that it's cheap and not in danger and we have a winning combination! This dish is great as a lunch or maybe a starter. The tomato salad counters the richness of the fish.


  • Mackerels; filleted
  • Vegetable oil
  • Spices (cumin, coriander, garlic, ceyenne pepper, maybe a pinch of smoked paprika)
  • Garlic
  • Fresh coriander
  • Tomatoes (get really nice ones)
  • Red onion
  • Mint
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nice olive oil
  • Lemon juice


  1. Toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds seperately until fragrant (definitely do this rather than using pre-ground)
  2. Crush in a pestle and mortar, but not until powder (this adds a nice crunch)
  3. Add in some garlic, coriander and a little vegetable oil. Pound some more
  4. Smear the mixture over the fleshy side of the fillets and leave to stand for 15 minutes or so
  5. Chop the tomatoes roughly and combine with thinly sliced red onion
  6. Add to this some olive oil, salt and pepper
  7. Add a handful of chopped coriander and chopped mint; mix well
  8. Pan-fry the fillets, starting with a hot pan and putting the fillets flesh side down (if you put them in skin side down they will curl up)
  9. Leave flesh side down for 6 minutes or so, until nearly cooked. You can test by pushing a finger lightly into the fat end of the fillet; if it bounces back into shape, they're not done
  10. Turn over and cook on the skin side for a minute or two
  11. Serve


Having been on a fish course, I know all about fresh fish now! If you want the best mackerel you're better off buying it whole and then either filleting it yourself (easy) or getting the fish monger to do it (even easier). Look for firm fish with no blood in the eyes and nice red gills that don't smell. Quantities for the spice mix (chermoula) are probably best guessed; maybe 1 flat tbsp of cumin seeds and coriander seeds plus 2 garlic cloves.