Kitchen Failure: Pan Fried Mackerel, A Soso Experience

Here at Honest Cooking, we’re not always 100% satisfied with what we cook. Here’s a dish that Nancy Lopez-McHugh wasn’t exactly thrilled with.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Pan Fried Mackerel
Pan Fried Mackerel

Have you ever tried smoked Mackerel? It tastes great on Scandinavian crisp bread. In fact my favorite way of eating it is with crisp bread and a light smearing of cream cheese. I love this combination for breakfast. A strange breakfast I know, but don’t knock it till you try it.

Since Mackerel is so healthy and I loved the smoke version so much I thought I’d give the fresh fish a try. I thought I’d keep it simple and just pan fry it with some garlic and a little olive oil, then drizzle with fresh squeezed lemon juice. The results were soso. It didn’t taste bad but it did taste very fishy or strong. I don’t mind the fishy taste but honestly I was left disappointed. There was not much depth other than fishy. Afterwords I did some research and found that Mackerel is best paired with strong or sharp tasting ingredients. Several websites also suggest pairing it with spicy seasonings. But of course! One can never go wrong with chiles. As a matter of fact here on Honest Cooking Kalle Bergman posted a great recipe for Smoked Mackerel Salad With Honeydew Chili Salsa, that should have clued me in. Oh well, next time.

Pan Fried Mackerel, A Soso Experience
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Simple pan fried Mackerel.
Recipe Type: Main Course
  • fresh Mackerel fillets
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO, extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • fresh lemons juiced, to taste
  1. Heat the EVOO over medium heat. Rinse the Mackerel fillets then gently pat dry with paper towels. Once the oil is hot place the fillets in the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes then flip over, season again with salt and pepper. Fry another 5 minutes then add the garlic to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Next pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the pan and cook a further 5 minutes.
  2. Plate the fish and drizzle the liquid and garlic from the pan over the Mackerels.

How about you guys have you ever cooked fresh Mackerel?


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