Sgombri al Vino Bianco e Pomodoro

Mackerel with White Wine and Tomatoes

The humble mackerel is an extremely delicious and sadly underrated fish. In this recipe, it is baked with garlic, white wine, and tomatoes, which lifts the fish out of its Atlantic image and turns it into a dish with a strong Mediterranean flavor. Any oily or white fish works very well cooked in this way, generically known, with a few variations to the basic format of the recipe as all’lsolana.


  • 6 large or 12 smaller mackerel, heads and all bones removed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • a handful of black olives, stoned
  • 2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
  • chopped peel of 1 lemon
  • butter, for greasing
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash the mackerel and pat dry on paper towels. Oil them inside and out lightly, then place a few slices of garlic, olives, capers, and pieces of lemon peel inside each fish. Season inside and out.
  2. Grease an ovenproof dish and arrange the mackerel in the dish side by side and head to tail. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil, and the remaining garlic, olives, capers, and lemon peel.
  3. Pour over about half the wine. Cover with the tomatoes and sprinkle with the oregano. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the dish and add the remaining wine.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
  5. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil just before serving.


The same combination of ingredients can be used to cook other fish fillets or even shrimp, and I have even used it to prepare mussels with great success.