Marinated mackerel with herbs

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.


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