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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Escabeche of Mackerel

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Spanking-fresh mackerel needs little or no cooking. And there is no question in my mind that by far the best mackerel I've had the privilege to be able to buy come from the stall in Bute St.

Escabeche is a dish whose preparation has some similarity with ceviche (see, for example, my Scallop "Ceviche"), but differs in the fact that the curing liquor is heated before being introduced to the main feature. The end result is a mixture between cured and cooked. And it's a very pleasing end result.

This recipe is due to Gordon Ramsay and I have barely deviated from how he wrote it. The star anise is essential. As a make-ahead, this dish is a very easy but classy dinner-party starter, served with crusty bread or rye crispbreads. Just multiply up the ingredient quantities as required.

Escabeche of Mackerel

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 small mackerel fillets, pin bones removed

1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp finely sliced shallot

2 tbsp finely sliced carrot

1 star anise

Saffron strands, a pinch

¼ tsp crushed coriander seeds

1 lemon slice

75ml white wine

25ml white wine vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Chopped coriander, to serve


  1. Season the mackerel fillets on both sides with salt and on the flesh side, with pepper. Place skin-side up in a lightly-oiled shallow dish with the lemon slice.

  2. Put the olive oil, shallot, carrot, saffron and the coriander seeds in a saucepan, heat gently and allow to fry for a couple of minutes.

  3. Add the white wine, vinegar, caster sugar and some seasoning, bring to the boil then simmer gently for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning then pour over the mackerel fillets, cover with cling film and allow to cool.

  4. Refrigerate overnight, then serve the mackerel fillets with some of the vegetables, at room temperature, garnished with the chopped coriander, and your choice of bread.


  • "Gordon Ramsay's Recipe of the Day: Escabeche of mackerel", Sunday Times, accessed 14 July 2019:

  • "Escabeche", Wikipedia, accessed 16 July 2019:

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