Raising the stakes
  |  First Published: December 2004

Mackerel is definitely one of my favourites when it comes to grilling or BBQing. The texture of the flesh holds together beautifully when cooking, and the characteristic flavour of the mackerel blends well with a variety of condiments. I have used steaks in the following recipes, but you can use fillets if you wish.

Grilled Mack Steaks with Caramelized Peppers

The flavour of the mackerel marries well with the sweet bite of the caramelised peppers (capsicum). The amount of capsicum you need depends on the number of people you intend to serve. The following quantities are intended for two. Caperberries are available, either loose or in bottles, in most supermarkets.


1-2 mackerel steaks, per person

some freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 green capsicum, seeded and finely sliced

1 red capsicum, seeded and finely sliced

1 yellow capsicum, seeded and finely sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

100g caperberries

3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves


• Heat the olive oil in a frypan over a low to medium heat. Add the sliced capsicum to the pan and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the capsicum is softened. Add the sugar, caperberries and basil and continue to cook, stirring, for a few more minutes until the capsicum is soft and glossy.

• Using a slotted spoon, remove the capsicum from the pan and place to one side in a bowl. Leave the cooking juices in the frypan.

• Rub both sides of the mackerel steaks with some freshly ground black pepper and place in the pan with the cooking juices. Cook the mackerel steaks over a medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until the steaks are just cooked through.

• To serve, place a generous layer of caramelised peppers on individual serving plates and place a mackerel steak or two on top. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious.

BBQ Mackerel with Wasabi Butter

This recipe has a delicious bite to it. You can get the wasabi from the Asian section of your supermarket.


1-2 mackerel steaks per person

2 limes or lemons

Wasabi butter

1 teaspoon wasabi paste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

125g butter, slightly softened


• Prepare the wasabi butter first to allow it time to chill and harden. Combine the ingredients for the butter in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roughly shape into a roll. Wrap the butter in the plastic wrap and roll, with your hands, until it forms a cylinder. Pop the roll into the fridge to chill.

• Heat your BBQ plate or grill. Slice one of the lemons (or limes) into slices and cut the other into half. Place the mackerel steaks on the hot BBQ or grill and squeeze the juice of the halved lemon over the top of the fish. Place the slices of lemon on the BBQ. Cook the fish for a couple of minutes on each side until just cooked through. Keep turning the lemon slices on the BBQ as the fish cooks. This helps the lemon slices caramelise and stops them burning.

• Remove the wasabi butter from the fridge and slice into half inch slices.

• To serve, place a couple of grilled mackerel steaks on each plate and top with a slice of wasabi butter. Add some grilled lemon slices to squeeze over the top of the fish and butter.

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