Pescatori's recipe for curing mackerel

This recipe, with Maldon sea salt and fennel, from Pescatori's Charlotte St restaurant will blow vacuum-packed supermarket mackerel out of the water

Pescatori's recipe for curing mackerel

Makes 4

Preparation time 10 mins

Cooking time 5 mins

If the word mackerel brings to mind salty smoked fish in vacuum-packed cellophane on supermarket aisles, cast it as far aside as you can and head down to Pescatori's new Charlotte Street restaurant. It opens in early June, serving Italian-inspired seafood dishes. Alternatively, if you feel like taking a short cut, make this recipe at home.


  • 4 medium Cornish mackerel, gutted
  • Maldon sea salt, to season
  • 150ml white wine
  • 200ml white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced length ways
  • 2 banana shallots, sliced into rings


  1. Fillet the mackerel and cut down each fillet lengthways to remove the centre bone line. Season the fillets with salt and leave for 10 minutes to lightly cure.
  2. For the pickling marinade bring, 200ml water, the vinegar and white wine to the boil with the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and add sugar. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. In a deep tray or dish add the finally sliced fennel, top with the mackerel fillets skin side up, lay over the finely shaved carrot ribbons and shallots over the mackerel along with the coriander.
  4. Pour the hot pickling marinade over the mackerel, making sure to cover the fish. Cling film the top of the dish to trap in the hot steam, and leave to cool. This will allow the fish to cook and lightly pickle at the same time.
  5. Place the mackerel in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but it can be kept for up to two days.
  6. To serve, remove the mackerel from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.