Escabeche mackerel with roasted vegetable salad

By Spencer Watts
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  • 450 grams mackerel fillets, skin on, bones removed
  • 1 cup of flour for dredging
  • 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 grams) butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 celery ribs, finely sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) olive oil

Roasted potato and olive salad:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 nugget potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) picholine olives
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) fresh parsley
  • Chives to garnish


  1. Rinse mackerel and pat dry. Run your finger down the centre of the fish to ensure that all the bones have been removed. If you find any you can pull them out with your fingers.
  2. Coat the fillets in flour.
  3. Melt butter in a cast-iron pan or heavy-bottomed skillet. Place the mackerel skin side down in the pan and gently apply some pressure. Fry for two to three minutes until the skin is golden and crispy.  Flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Work in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan and add butter as needed to ensure a lubricated cooking surface. Place the fried fish into a flat bottomed non-reactive (i.e. glass) dish.
  4. Add vinegar, cumin and salt to a saucepan. Simmer for four to five minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add ice cubes to cool and dilute the marinade.
  6. Place olive oil in skillet. Add onion and celery and soften for two minutes. Add garlic and salt. Cook for another minute.
  7. Cover the fried mackerel with green onion, parsley and thyme.
  8. Spread the softened vegetables over the mackerel. Add chopped red chilies.
  9. Pour the cooled vinegar over the mackerel and place the fish in the refrigerator for two hours to marinate.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F/176C.
  11. Place the garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, and olives in a bowl. Toss with one tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with herbs. Place them onto a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and crispy. Use a spatula to flip the potatoes halfway through cook time.
  12. Finish with olive oil and fresh parsley.
  13. Remove fish with herbs on top from fridge. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and serve with the warm roasted potato and olive salad.

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