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BBQ Mackerel with Pickled Cucumber and Charred Lemon Salad

Savor the flavors of the sea with this delectable BBQ Mackerel dish, complemented by a tangy pickled cucumber and charred lemon salad. This recipe, adapted from Halen Môn via Port to Plate celebrates the freshness of seafood, marrying it with smoky, savory notes and vibrant, zesty accompaniments. 


For the Fish:

  • 4 mackerel fillets, skin on, deboned
  • 2 tbsp oak smoked water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Pure sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper

For the Cucumber Pickle:

  • 1 medium cucumber, cut lengthways, seeds removed, sliced into half-moon shapes
  • 1 banana shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp pure sea salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

To Serve:

  • 2 large unwaxed lemons, halved
  • Watercress, washed
  • A handful of soft herbs (dill, mint, or parsley), chopped


  1. Marinate the Fish: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, smoked water, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place the mackerel fillets in the mixture, ensuring they are well coated, and let them marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Pickle: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cucumber, shallot, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, coriander seeds, sea salt, and sugar. Toss with your hands to ensure all ingredients are coated.
  3. Cook the Fish: Heat a grill or frying pan to high. Char the lemon halves until blackened. Then, cook the mackerel fillets skin side down for 3–4 minutes. Carefully flip them over and cook for another 2–3 minutes. The skin should be crisp, golden, and slightly charred.
  4. Assemble and Serve: Place a bed of watercress on each plate. Lay a mackerel fillet on top, scatter with chopped herbs, and add the pickled cucumbers. Serve with a charred lemon half on the side.

Serving Suggestions:

This dish pairs beautifully with a light, citrusy white wine or a cold, crisp lager. The flavours of the pickled cucumber and charred lemon enhance the smokiness of the fish, creating a balanced, flavorful dish.