Tender Pan-Seared Spanish Mackerel

Heavily inspired by one of my favorite YouTube chefs: The French Cooking Academy, I think this recipe is one of my new favorites. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory aids to help maintain endometriosis and pains from inflammation. The original recipe, Mackerel Escabèche, is actually served cold and is salted for about 24 hours or more. I was able to get my hands on some fresh mackerel at the market so I couldn’t wait…I thought I might try to make a hot version. This recipe is originally from Spain, adapted by the French, and now adapted by me based on whatever else I had in my kitchen. I’ve got to say, I’m really excited about it!

When I asked for the “sgombro,” the mackerel, the fisherman asked if I wanted her to clean the fish for me. I didn’t hear her so I just said no, and didn’t realise until later what she had asked. While I had these two beautiful fish, guts and everything all still tucked into their bellies, staring back at me. I wish I could have video taped the various faces, almost fainting, and self-motivation speeches I gave myself while filleting these fish for the first time. The deed is done, but safe to say that next time I’ll just say…”sì, grazie.”

What You’ll Need

(Makes 4 portions)

2 fresh mackerel

2 carrots, sliced thinly

1 red onion (I used yellow only because I didn’t have red), sliced thinly


red peppercorns

fresh cardamom

bay leaf

fresh lemon slices

fresh parsley

1 glass white wine + 1 to sip

splash red wine vinegar


Fillet the fish, or have your trusty fisherman work their magic for you. Mix the cardamom, red pepper, bay leaf, carrots and onion in olive oil on low heat in a large, deep pan until onions become slightly tender. Add a few dashes of salt, and the red wine vinegar and white wine. Raise the heat and let the vinegar and wine reduce. Lower the heat and add the fish skin side up, spooning some of the saucy liquid over top of the skin. About halfway through cooking, squeeze juice of half a lemon, and add lemon slices to pan. Cover and let cook in liquid until tender. Buon appetito!