Herb-smoked mackerel

Tristan Welch shows how easy it is to smoke your own fish with a mixture of fragrant herbs
Herb-smoked mackerel
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 whole mackerel, gutted
  • 6 fresh bay leaves, (see Cooks note below)
  • 6-8 dried whole stalks fennel
  • 6-8 dried wholesprig dill
  • dried wholesprig thyme
  • dried whole sprigs lavender

For the salad

  • 5-6 sprigs fresh wild fennel
  • olive oil, for dressing

Tips and Suggestions

You can make your own dried whole herbs. Either dry the fresh herbs in an airing cupboard for a few days or, for a quicker option, leave them in the oven on the lowest temperature overnight or for 6 hours.


1. For the salad: discard the middle part of the wild fennel sprigs. Thinly slice the bottoms into disks and chop the tops.

2. Crush a handful of lingonberries in a bowl with a fork, add a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced wild fennel to the berry mixture and allow the flavours to mix.

3. Make 1cm-deep slits into the mackerel along the length of the fish, about 5 or 6 in total on each fish. Put pieces of fresh bay leaf in each slit and season well with salt and pepper.

4. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat until very hot.

5. Put the herbs at the bottom of the hot pan and put the fish on top of them. Immediately seal the pan with tin foil to trap all the smoke that will be produced inside the pan.

6. After 10 minutes, check the mackerel. If their eyes are white, then the mackerel is ready to eat. Remove from the heat and serve with the fennel and berry salad.

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