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Sticky Mackerel Recipe

Published in The Green Chronicle 26/07/2011

sticky mackerel

I'm a great fan of mackerel. It's inexpensive, it's healthy (full of Omega-3 fatty acids), sustainable (as highlighted by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's mackerel bap) and above all it's full of flavour. This recipe, which is part of a collection of over 90 fish recipes in a new cookery book called 'Fishy Fishy', offers a different way to serve the often overlooked fish. The BBQ-style sauce is drizzled over the cooked mackerel which is then finished off in the oven to create a deliciously sweet and sticky coating.

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  • 4 x 500–600-g mackerel, cleaned and gutted
  • olive oil, for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50ml ketchup
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(see measure conversions for more information)


  • First make the sticky sauce. Place all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then allow to cool. Set aside until needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Make small cuts along both sides of the mackerel and season inside and outside the fish. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan until smoking then char each side of the fish for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the mackerel to a roasting dish and put in the preheated oven.
  • After about 10 minutes take out the fish and paint the sticky sauce across the top of the fish. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the sauce looks thick and sticky. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4