Mackerel Marinated in Lime and Coconut

The texture and flavour of very fresh raw mackerel, just lightly marinated, is quite exceptional.


  • 1 coconut
  • ½ pt / 280 ml boiling water
  • 4 mackerel fillets
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 limes
  • salad leaves


Puncture the coconut and pour the liquid into a jug. Crack the nut and, with a sharp knife, zester or canelle knife, remove a few strips or curls of coconut flesh, and put on one side for garnishing the dish. Grate the rest of the white coconut flesh and put it in a bowl. Pour on the boiling water, and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Then sieve, pressing down vigorously to extract the maximum amount of flavoured liquid or ‘milk’ from the grated coconut. Mix this liquid with the liquid you have already extracted from the coconut, and allow it to cool completely. Cut the mackerel fillets into very thin slices, as if you were slicing smoked salmon. (The thin slices will marinate more quickly.) Arrange in a single layer in a flat dish, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and pour on the coconut milk, making sure that all the fish is covered. Leave for 1 hour. Remove a few shreds of zest from one of the limes and reserve for garnish. Cut both limes in half, and squeeze the juice all over the fish. Using a wooden spoon so that the fish slices are not torn, stir gently to spread the marinade all over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for a further hour. Arrange on the salad leaves, garnish with the reserved strips of coconut and lime zest and serve.


Salmon, trout or fresh fillets of plaice can be prepared in the same way.

Instead of the coconut and lime marinade, use one prepared by simmering ½ pt / 280 ml white wine vinegar with a little finely chopped carrot, onion and garlic, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley and thyme, a few cloves, peppercorns and coriander seeds and a pinch of sea salt for 40 minutes. Pour this over the fish while still hot, then leave to cool completely, chill and serve.