Sunday, 3 August 2014

Mackerel and chilli pasta

Fresh mackerel is a lovely but much underrated fish.  It's a great source of Omega 3 but unless you get it straight from the sea, it does have a tendency to have that excessively 'fishy' flavour some people don't like.  I have a solution; buy it frozen.  One of the major UK supermarkets does excellent packs of frozen mackerel fillets for a very inexpensive price and if I'm honest, it's the only reason I go in there nowadays for a once a month / two month shop.  Because it's frozen, it will last for ages so you can make this when the cupboards are pretty much bare and also you know it's always going to taste fresh.

I tend to make my pasta 'sauces' more saucy than this but I also think it's really nice sometimes to have something which tastes fresher and lighter.

Parsley is very easy to grow in the garden or in a pot.  Even the 'growing herbs' you can buy in supermarkets do very well transferred to a border.

If you want some vegetables with this, a good seasonal salad of grated or shaved courgette (zucchini) dressed with lemon juice and olive oil would be nice.

Mackerel and Chilli Pasta - Serves 1


1 Mackerel fillet, defrosted if frozen, skinned and chopped
1/2 dried red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Garlic clove crushed into a paste with a pinch of coarse sea salt
75g, 2.5oz Spaghetti (or however much you like to eat)
Approx 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Put the spaghetti on to cook, aim to cook for 1 min less than the pack time and check it, you want it al dente.


Put 1 tsp oil into a frying pan as the spaghetti is cooking.  Put in the mackerel and fry gently stirring and breaking it up as it cooks.  When it looks cooked, add in the garlic and chilli, stir for a minute then take off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley.

When the pasta is cooked, drain reserving about 1 tbsp of the cooking water.  Mix the pasta and cooking water with the mackerel and seasoning to taste.

Mackerel spaghetti

Pour into a bowl and top with a little extra olive oil if liked.

I've entered this into the Family Foodies Italian Challenge



  1. Mackerel is one of my favourite fish. I love your pasta and chilli combination

    1. Me too. Such a great source of Omega 3 and so tasty but underrated.

  2. I have some mackerel waiting to be used in the freezer. Simple and delicious. Thanks.

    1. The only next best thing is barbecued Mackerel... it's a shame the season has passed.

  3. Mackerel is one of my favourite fish, but I've never tried it with pasta. Definitely giving this recipe a go! Yet another fine entry for the Family Foodies Italian challenge. Thanks Heidi :)

    1. Do, I think it's one of my favourite pasta dishes.


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