Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring

For us, pickled mackerel (or salted mackerel) is indispensable in the cold season and especially during the winter holidays. It's wonderful served simply as an appetizer, with olives and some onion slices beside. If you also added some potatoes baked in the oven, it would be pure madness... I showed you last year a good method to pickle mackerel in brine and now I discovered another quick and easy way to pickle fish.

It's good to serve within 2 days and I recommend freezing the remainings. Then, you can thaw it whenever you feel like and, because the whole procedure of cleaning the fish is done only once, you can make strategic stocks. Also, the fish marinated in brine by the method in the link above can be frozen too, so you can choose any recipe you like.

Pick some mackerel which is as big and as oily as possible, without any brown spots, torn skin or smell. I buy it from the local fish shop, it comes frozen in individual pieces and you can see exactly what you are buying. In the supermarket, it comes in bags, and to be honest, of dubious quality, small and fishy.

The quantities below are for 1 fish. I recommend testing first with one fish and then make a more serious batch of about 5 fish.


Fresh mackerel
1 piece
1 tbsp
Laurel leaves
2 pieces
Ground black pepper
0.25 tsp
I recommend the mix of 5 peppers, it can be found in health food stores
Coriander seeds
5 pieces
seeds or ground, its flavor is a perfect match for fish - but you can skip if you don't have

Step by step

Step 1

The mackerel I bought was frozen whole, so I thawed it, then removed the head and tail.

If you bought it fresh and already gutted, skip this step.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 1
Step 2

Clean well on the inside, remove the large bone from the middle - insist with a sharp knife in the middle and be careful not to cut the skin.

Notice that I wear gloves when I clean the fish - this is the only way to avoid the strong smell on my hands after working with the fish :)

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 2
Step 3

Now wash it well on all sides, remove with a knife that thin black strip on the inside.

Then pat dry with a paper towel or napkins.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 3
Step 4

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over the entire surface of the fish - both side fillets.

Distribute evenly with your fingers and massage the salt into the fish meat.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 4
Step 5

Sprinkle with ground black pepper, coriander seeds or ground coriander and finely crushed bay leaves.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 5
Step 6

Now close the fish again - meaning you bring together the 2 side fillets.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 6
Step 7

Initially I wrapped each fish in plastic wrap or a plastic food bag.

If you make several fish you can put them all together in the same plastic bag. Place the fish in a deep bowl or pan and refrigerate for 2 days.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 7
Step 8

After this time you will notice that the fish will release water/juice, which is normal - that's why I recommended keeping in a deep bowl in the fridge.

The first time, I placed the fish on a plate and I suddenly found brine all over the shelf in the fridge and we don't want this to happen.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 8
Step 9

Take each fish and pat dry.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 9
Step 10

Wrap each one in plastic foil.

I freeze the fish for whenever we have a craving in the following 2 months.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 10
Step 11

I had one right away - I removed the bones and the skin, see the details in the other recipe for pickled mackerel, steps 6-10.

Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 11
Step 12

Then I sliced it, sprinkled with a little oil, lemon juice or vinegar and served with onions and, maybe, some olives.

It is perfect for salads with salted fish - Shuba and Aristocrat Salad, or as a complement to Salad with black radish and apples !


Easy Pickled Mackerel or Herring - Step 12
Quantity: 1 piece (1 pickled fish)
Prep time: 15 min
Difficulty: easy
Ready in: 15 min
Publish date:
Collections: Fish dishes, Appetizers

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