Smoked Mackerel

If you usually buy smoked mackerel from the supermarket, do yourself and your taste buds a favour and instead buy direct from a fisherman and you won’t ever go back. Mackerel at farmers’ markets is caught by our fishermen from small day boats, often line caught and as fresh as you can get. Smoked, it’s often sold as a whole fish rather than fillets, succulent and flavoursome. Full of omega-3 fatty acids and tasty too. This salad is great for spring; the robust flavours of the mackerel stand up well to the zingy watercress and crunchy fennel.

Smoked mackerel with spring onion, fennel and watercress salad with mustard dressing and croutons

Serves 2

  • 1 medium smoked mackerel
  • 2 medium spring onions
  • 1⁄4 fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and picked through
  • 1 slice stale white bread, cut into approx 1 cm cubes
  • 6 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 1⁄2 tsp runny honey
  • Fine sea salt, sea salt flakes and ground black pepper


  1. First make the dressing. Mix together the mustard, honey, cider vinegar and 4 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a clean jam jar or small bottle with a lid and shake vigorously to blend. Taste, season with fine sea salt and adjust ingredients as preferred.
  2. Next the croutons: heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan then fry the cubes of bread until golden all over. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  3. Debone and remove the skin from the mackerel and break the flesh up into bite-sized pieces.
  4. With a mandoline or sharp knife, very thinly slice the fennel and spring onions.
  5. Mix together the fennel, watercress and some of the dressing and then arrange the salad. Place the watercress and fennel first on the plate, in a small pile, then lay on the pieces of mackerel, with sea salt flakes and black pepper, and finally the slices of spring onion over the top. Drizzle over more dressing and arrange the croutons roughly around the outside of the plate.

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