Mackerel salad with saffron

A delectable starter from Giorgio Locatelli: crisp saffron-flavoured mackerel fillets in pancetta, with salad leaves and a saffron vinaigrette.
By Giorgio Locatelli
Mackerel salad with saffron
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 4 mackerel fillets, weighing 80-90g each
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 thin slices pancetta
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 3 small handfuls mixed salad leaves
  • black pepper

For the plain vinaigrette:

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 pinches saffron
  • 2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper


1. To make the saffron vinaigrette, combine the sugar, water, saffron,
vinegar and seasonings in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil until smooth.

2. Rub the mackerel fillets with oil, salt and pepper. Cut each fillet into three pieces. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each piece.

3. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Put the mackerel pieces in the pan, skin side down, pressing them flat to prevent the pancetta from shrinking.

4. Put the salad leaves in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Arrange some salad in the middle of each plate.

5. When the mackerel pieces are brown and crispy on one side, turn them over and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

6. Remove the mackerel from the pan. Using tongs, briefly dip the pieces in the saffron vinaigrette.

7. Arrange the mackerel on the salad. Drizzle with the remaining saffron vinaigrette and sprinkle with chives. Serve warm.

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