11th April 2014

Marinated mackerel with herbs

By MaitreMarcel

One of the many specialities of restaurant along the Channel in France, as in Dieppe, are marinated mackerel which is eaten cold as a starter. They sometimes use small, young, mackerel called “Lisette” which is caught on lines that contain many hooks.

At the local market here, the fishmonger had a few boxes of mackerel at an interesting price and he offered an extra discount if I took three kilos. I decided to make marinated mackerel to store in jars.

First I cleaned the fish – cutting the fins, the tail and the head, then opening it up to remove the innards. There is a blackish veil between the cavity and the fish meat that you need to scrape away.

I wanted to use the fish whole. In the end that meant I had to remove the main bone before we ate the fish, while the smaller bones had almost dissolved during the marinade and storage period.

When I do it another time, I may take fillets off the bone but leave the skin on.

The cleaned fish went in a container with a kilo of rough salt and left overnight.

I cleaned carrots and onions  and sliced them. I had fresh dill and slices of lemon.

I put a bottle of white wine and two glasses of white vinegar in a pan and brought it to the boil.

I added the carrot, onion, bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns and let it cook for a while.

I took the fish out of the salt and wiped them clean with a paper towel. Then I put them in plastic containers and poured the hot liquid over the fish. I added the dill and the slices of lemon and let it cool. First in the open, later I put the lid on and put them away in the refrigerator.

The first fish we tried after two days was still a bit tough. Perhaps I should have used more vinegar but that would have altered the taste. The fish we ate after a week was great.

I cleaned some jars with hot water and a passage in the oven and transferred the rest of the fish into it. I put in in the oven at 100 °C for 20 minutes, then I let it cool down and put air tight lids on.

These jars can keep for many weeks.