Grilled Mackerel

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Preparation info

  • 4

    • Difficulty


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Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

  • About

This is the template recipe for grilling fish. Master this, and you’ll be able to grill any fish.


  • 4 whole mackerel, 300 g each, gutted by your fishmonger (ask him to remove the gills as well)
  • sea salt
  • lemon wedges


You will need a barbecue, ridged grill pan or overhead grill. When grilling whole fish it is important that no trace of blood remains in the body cavity as this goes a very unpleasant colour when cooked. To remove, rub with sea salt then brush out with an old toothbrush and a little water.

Cut two slashes on each side of the fish nearly down to the spine then salt the fish heavily. Grill by your chosen method for approximately 5 minutes per side. The side you present to the heat first will be the side you serve uppermost because it will have the most appetising appearance.

If using a ridged grill pan cook the fish aligned with the ridges and not across them, this makes turning easier as you can slide a long pronged cooking fork along the grooves right under the full length of the fish and simply flip it over. When you grill the fish across the ridges you need two forks, one at the head and one at the tail, and still risk the fish breaking in the middle as you turn it. Serve the fish hot with lemon wedges.

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