5th September 2013

Marinated mackerel

By MaitreMarcel

There are many more ways to prepare fish than to cook it. Eskimos and some Scandinavian people allow the fish to ‘rot’ buried underground while there are many other ways to obtain fermented fish for a meal.
In the past, you had to eat fish raw on the spot or you needed to control the rotting process as refrigeration was not possible. Drying fish is one way, salting fish is another and marinating with vinegar or brine is a third option.

The Romans were using a fermented fish sauce, garum, and the Vietnamese Nuoc-mam is still used in these days.

The Scandinavians, Dutch, Germans and Polish people have many ways to marinate herring with vinegar in a sweet-sour combination.

In France, especially along the northern coast, there are dishes for marinated mackerel or other fish that are best eaten at least 48 hours after preparation.
Often, a small kind of mackerel called Lisette is used.


  • Six small mackerel
  • Two onions
  • Two carrots
  • Bay leaf
  • A dozen whole pepper corns
  • One bottle of white wine, or cider
  • A cup of (white wine or cider) vinegar
  • Three cloves
  • Fresh tarragon


  1. Peel the onions and carrots and slice finely
  2. Put the white wine, vinegar, bay leaf, pepper corns and cloves in a pan and bring to the boil, cook for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Clean the mackerel, you can keep them whole or use filets. With small mackerel you can keep the innards in the fish.
  4. Put the fish in a container that you can close with a lid.
  5. Pour the content of the pan over the fish so that the fish is covered (add wine or water if needed).
  6. Add some chopped fresh tarragon.
  7. Let it cool down, close the container with the lid and leave in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours.