Summer is coming, I know it, the cherry blossoms are out and people seem to be cheering up as the hangover from winter recedes. The British summer is defined by Pimms, Wimbledon, BBQ’s and pints in pub gardens. For me, the fish of the British summer is mackerel. It becomes evident when they start being caught in massive schools off the coast by weekend anglers and barbecued up on the beaches.
Mackerel are a migratory species and start shoaling the UK in a big way from spring and through the summer. They are small and fast predators, similar to tuna in that they do not have a swim bladder so can change depths at a rapid pace when chasing their small prey.
I sometimes hear people say that they do not like the fishy taste of mackerel. The mackerel they have experienced has had a strong unpleasant fishy taste. I am pretty confident this is because they have eaten supermarket mackerel that has taken a good while to reach the shelves and subsequently their grills and pans. The quicker the mackerel is eaten or frozen after leaving the sea the better the resulting flavour will be. The flavour will be more delicate and a trained palate will notice subtle differences in the texture of the flesh. We buy mackerel that has been landed that day and then blast freeze them. This minimises their time out of the water and we are confident that they taste indistinguishable to when they were frozen.
Ideas for you to get the most out of this great fish.
Sashimi – SABA
Gently remove the outer translucent skin from the fillet and cut into small slices to make sashimi. Serve with a little rice vinegar (sushi-zu). This is a pretty skilled job and probably not for beginners. You could grab a pack form us here. SABA – Mackerel sashimi .
The finished product.
Asian grilled mackerel
A short video that sums up the idea of this dish.
PLUS: Aren’t they just beautiful little runners. Such vibrant colours deserving of a much more tropically inclined fish.
If you are in need of some top notch mackerel let us know!