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This is why you should make Mackerel one of your two servings of fish each week. (2022)

Updated: Nov 16, 2022


Today we look at the humble mackerel, understated and delicious!

  • Taste and Appearance

  • Nutritional Information

  • Fishing Techniques & Sustainability

  • Preparation

  • Serving Suggestions

When it comes to fish, you are in safe hands! Big Fish Little Fish has been in the game for decades. We have a seafood ancestry that reaches back a hundred years, we eat, sleep and breath all things fishy and are excited you made it here to find out more.

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Taste and Appearance

The mackerel is a stunning looking fish, round, torpedo shaped with a slender fork shaped tail. The top half of their bodies boast vertical tiger like stripes in beautiful iridescent green blue, whilst the bottom half fashions a belly section of pure shimmering silver. It is a round fish so swims in an upright position. Whist the mackerel does have scales, it is not necessary to descale before consumption. The scales are tiny, and as such, inoffensive to the palate. In the raw state, the flesh is a delicate pale grey and cooks white. The mackerel, unlike most round fish, has a bone line that runs almost the entire length of the fillet. This is easily removed with a V shaped cut from a sharp knife. As far as taste is concerned, the mackerel punches way above it's weight. It has a rich deep flavour not dissimilar to other oily fish varieties such as herring. If you like your fish full flavoured, this is the fish for you!


Nutritional Information

The mackerel is considered to be one of the most nutritious varieties of fish delivers 225 Kcal per 100g. It is approximately 24% protein, 5% saturated fat, 5% polyunsaturated fat and 7% monounsaturated fat. He contains no carbohydrate, salt or sugar. The mackerel contains 2670 mg of omega-3 per 100g which is more omega-3 than the majority of other fish. Unlike it's cousins the Spanish and King mackerel, the Atlantic mackerel is low in Mercury. It is also high in vitamin B12. The mackerel is also high in selenium which is an antioxidant and also plays a key role in a healthy immune system. With its abundance of both omega-3 and selenium, the mackerel, in partnership with a balanced diet and regular exercise, will help ensure cardio vascular health.



Fishing Techniques And Sustainability

Mackerel can be caught a number of different ways, the trawler pictured above is part of the Shetland pelagic fleet. The Zephyr is a 75m vessel and is one of three new trawlers that went into commission on the isles this year. Whilst these vessels are equipped to efficiently fish mackerel on large scale, they do so within strict quotas. The marine conservation society has described this method of fishing within their 'best choice' criteria for sustainably but it should be noted that the less intensive 'hook and line' method it preferred.

The Atlantic mackerel is not in an overfished state but the general species stock has been in decline since 2015. Stock management measures are in place to ensure the sustainability of the mackerel and it is noted that midwater trawling and purse seine netting are relatively low-impact fishing methods, with little bycatch and no habitat impacts.


Preparation Techniques

The mackerel can be prepared in a number of different ways. Purists would insist on the fish being served on the bone, a straight forward gut and gill is called for here.

It is a fact that fish prepared in this way is more tasty than if it were to be filleted but it is all down to personal preference. The filleted mackerel is a way more convenient way of consuming this super food.

First with the fish laying on a clean chopping block, make an incision, with a sharp knife, behind the pectoral fin, the fins on the side of the fish. Make a further incision along the dorsal fin, the fin at the top of the fish, and release the fillet from the spine. As the mackerel is a relatively soft boned fish, it is possible to take the fillets away from the spine of the fish with the rib bones attached. Repeat on the other side to release the second fillet. It will now be possible to remove the rib bones from the fillet. Slide your knife under the rib bones to free them up from one end, then using a gentle scooping action, the ribs can be removed. All that remains is to remove the pin bones from the fish. This can be done with pliers, individually plucking each bone in turn, or by making a long V shaped cut along the bone line, removing the bones in one go.


Serving Suggestions

Here are some recipes we love!


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