Mackerel escabeche recipe

This Spanish-inspired dish pickles and marinates the fish until it's melt-in-the-mouth delicious!

General info

Serves: 4-6


  • 1tbsp mild olive oil
  • 6 mackerel (sardines work well too), filleted and the pin bones removed (ask your fish monger to do this)

For the marinade:

  • 1 carrot, peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 250ml (9fl oz) white wine vinegar
  • 150ml (¼ pt) extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch each of caster sugar, sweet smoked paprika and saffron
  • 5 thyme sprigs


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Fry the fish fillets in batches for 2 minutes on the flesh side. They don’t need to cook through as the marinade will “cook” them. Set them aside in a wide container
  2. Place the carrot, shallots, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, paprika and saffron in a saucepan, bring to boil and leave to simmer gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then pour over the fish and scatter over the thyme sprigs. Set aside to cool completely then cover and place in the fridge. Leave for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight to marinate. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

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