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mackerel in olive oil on a serving plate

Mackerel in Olive Oil

An effortless and flavorful way to prepare mackerel is to poach it in extra-virgin olive oil and aromatics. It makes cooking fish at home easy — no fuss, no muss.  My favorite part is that there’s no mixing involved in the pan.
5 from 11 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 608kcal
Author: Nora
Cost: $10-$12

Ingredients

  • 4 mackerel fillets (from 2 whole fish) about 1 ¼ pounds (see note)
  • 9 ounces sliced carrots (about 2 cups)
  • 4 ounces sweet pickles or gherkins (about 1 cup)
  • 3.5 ounces shallots (about 1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 ounces pitted green olives (about ½ cup)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 Bird's eye chili pepper (see note)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup vinegar (see note)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger grated or minced
  • Ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare the Ingredients: Cut each mackerel fillet into three pieces.
    Peel and slice the carrots diagonally into ½” thick pieces.  Cut the pickles and shallots into smaller pieces if they’re too big for one bite.  Smash the garlic and remove the peel.  Get the olives, bay leaves, and chilies ready.  Peel a small knob of ginger, then grate or mince. 
    Make the sauce by combining the water, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fish sauce, paprika, salt, sugar, and ginger in a cup or bowl. 
  • Cook: In a large skillet or sauté pan with a lid, arrange the fish preferably in a single layer. 
    Add the carrots, sweet pickles, olives, shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and chilies.  There won’t be any mixing involved, so make sure you lay them out evenly. 
    Pour the sauce over.  Add some ground pepper to taste. 
    Set the heat to medium and let it simmer covered for about 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Taste the sauce and adjust – you may need to add more salt and pepper.  If it’s too watery, cook for a few more minutes uncovered so some of the water can evaporate. 
  • Serve: If you are like me (and a millionother Filipinos), I will enjoy this over a bowl of hot steaming rice

Video

Notes

  • Mackerel: Also labeled as Atlantic, Norwegian, or Boston mackerel with their distinctive wavy lines that run on their backs. Buy fillets of mackerel or you can fillet them yourself at home.  A similarly delicious alternative would be Spanish mackerel. Sardines and milkfish are excellent options too, but you have to be careful as they have substantially more pin bones. Other types of oily fish as alternatives would be salmon or tuna fillets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil:  You can use other types of olive oil you have available.
  • Vinegar: To get the fishy taste out of mackerel, use white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or cane vinegar.
  • Bird's eye chilies: If not available, you can use red pepper flakes instead. Start with ¼ teaspoon then add more to taste.
TIP:
This recipe is hard to mess up, you just have to remember to use good quality fresh or frozen fish.
Nutrition Facts
Mackerel in Olive Oil
Amount per Serving
Calories
608
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
40
g
62
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
22
g
Cholesterol
 
106
mg
35
%
Sodium
 
918
mg
40
%
Potassium
 
1169
mg
33
%
Carbohydrates
 
13
g
4
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
8
g
9
%
Protein
 
47
g
94
%
Vitamin A
 
5855
IU
117
%
Vitamin C
 
41
mg
50
%
Calcium
 
91
mg
9
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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