Barbecued Mackerel with Ginger, Chilli & Lime Drizzle

Barbecued Mackerel with Ginger, Chilli & Lime Drizzle


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
  • For the drizzle
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • small knob fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp honey
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 lime
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce



Light the barbecue and allow the flames to die down until the ashes have gone white with heat. Make the drizzle by whisking 2 tbsp olive oil and all the other ingredients together in a small bowl, adjusting the ratio of honey and lime to make a sharp sweetness. Season to taste.

Score each side of the mackerel about 6 times, not quite through to the bone.

Brush the fish with the remaining oil and season lightly. Barbecue the mackerel for 5-6 mins on each side until the fish is charred and the eyes have turned white.

Spoon the drizzle over the fish and allow to stand for 2-3 mins before serving.

Simple, quick methods of cooking are best for mackerel. Roasting, grilling or barbecuing all work well as the oils self-baste during cooking (pan-frying can cause the skin to stick to the pan). Fruit works well with the oiliness of mackerel and it is traditionally served with a sharp sauce, such as gooseberry or rhubarb. It is also excellent cooked with oriental flavours, particularly ginger, lime, coriander and spices.

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