Baked Mackerel done in about 20 minutes. Mackerel is so good and in this recipe can be topped with various kinds of stuffings or toppings.
If you never had Mackerel before, you are really missing out on one of the best fish out there. Some may even prefer Mackerel over Salmon and Smoked Mackerel is unbelievable.
Mackerel is one of those fishes I use to catch off the Wharf. Both in Nova Scotia and PEI. You would tie up 4-5 Hooks per line and when they hit, you were pulling 4-5 Mackerels up – they swim in schools.
The Seagulls would swoop down trying to eat them. So you had to place the line with the Fish on it inside a bucket and then unhook each fish. Back in the line would go for another round.
By far the easiest method is to shop fresh. Often times you can pick out a few Mackerel and ask to have it fillet for you.
These guys behind the counter can fillet a fish in no time, bones and all. Fresh is preferred as Frozen Fish tends to get water logged with a mushier texture but it still can be done. Just visit your local seafood shop and ask if they will fillet the fish for you and then pick some out. Most Seafood outlets will do this for you.
If you have fresh Mackerel Fillets, then just refrigerate until ready to use.
Thawing Whole Mackerel
Take it out the night before and place in the fridge to gradually thaw. The slow drop in temp will preserve the flavor and texture. Whereas a drastic drop may split the Mackerel Skin. It is always best to thaw in the fridge overnight with frozen Mackerel.
Whether you have thawed the Fish in the fridge or not. Place the Mackerel in a Ziploc bag or original packaging in a Pot filled with Cold water. It will take about 2-3 hours to thaw completely so that you can clean and fillet the fish.
Preparing the Baked Mackerel
There are many ways to prepare the Mackerel with leaving the head on, leaving the Fish fully intact and Stuffing, Fillet into two fillets or both Fillets attached as in butterfly fish Fillets.
The Butterfly Mackerel will usually need some twine to hold it together as the meat starts to shrink and pull away when exposed to heat.
For this recipe I just stay with the simplest method. Completely Boneless Fillets with a Crumb Topping.
Two fillets for each portion. Once you have the fillets, wash and pat dry then season with Kosher salt both sides and let rest until the stove comes up to temp and you have the Crumb Topping prepared.
Baked Mackerel Crumb Topping
The Crumb Topping is a basic Panko Crumb which can be substituted with various other stuffings, such as Stove Top or Vegetable fillings.
The recipe below contains an egg for binding but is completely optional. I prefer it with, as I really like the texture it offers.
Don’t press it down too much, it will go too dense. Just lightly press and shape to the fillet.
I like to serve Baked Mackerel with a side of Shrimp or Lobster Stock infused Risotto.
- 1 Baking Sheet
- 1 Bowl – for the Panko topping
- 4 Fillets Mackerel - Skin on
- Kosher Salt - to Season both sides
- 1 C Panko
- 5 Tbl Butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 Lemon - Zest and Juice
- 1 Tbl Parsley
- 1 tsp Sweet Aleppo Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Thyme
- To Taste Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the Oven to 350 F. Salt the Mackerel Fillets with Kosher Salt and let rest while the oven comes to temp.
- Combine the Panko with Parsley, Thyme and Aleppo and Mix. Melt the Butter and toss with the Crumb.
- Mix the Beaten Egg, Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice really well before combining with the Bread Crumb Mixture and mix. Adjust the Seasoning.
- Place the Fillets on a well Oiled Baking Sheet, skin side down. Top each Fillet with Panko Mixture and shape the Mixture to fit the length of the Fillet. Press down lightly.
- Bake at 350 F until done. About 15-20 minutes.
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