Sunday, February 12, 2017

From the Galley: Grilled Mackerel with Potato Vinaigrette

Whenever feasible (i.e., light winds and less boat traffic), Bill and I like to drop a few fishing lines off the stern, troll for a little while and see what we can catch. Here on the Chesapeake, at low speeds (3-4 knots) we can often catch Rockfish (Striped Bass). At higher speeds (6+ knots) and in the lower, Virginia portion of the Bay, catching Spanish Mackerel or Bluefish is a tasty treat!

18" Spanish Mackerel caught while sailing in the lower Chesapeake Bay

Mackerel is a particularly oily fish, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Some people shy away from it because they think it has a strong taste, but if really fresh and properly prepared it is mild and delicious! Last summer we paired our freshly caught mackerel with a quick potato vinaigrette reminiscent of a German potato salad without the hassle of marinating all day.

We never know when we're going to catch a Spanish Mackerel, but this recipe works just as well with fresh Bluefish also!

Grilled Mackerel and Potato Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Olive oil
4 mackerel fillets, skin on
1/2 pound red potatoes
2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
Fresh lime wedges (optional)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

1. Catch the mackerel (that's the hard part 😁), then clean and fillet.

2. Combine crushed garlic, paprika, salt and small amount of olive oil to make a paste. Rub paste over the flesh side of the mackerel fillets and set aside.

3. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water for about 15 minutes until tender, then drain. While still hot, place potatoes in a non-reactive bowl and lightly crush them with the back of a fork or a potato masher (you want them lumpy, not mashed to mush). Gently stir in the scallions and vinaigrette, then allow the flavors to meld while cooking the fish.

5. Preheat your grill to medium-high. Place the mackerel skin side up on an oiled piece of aluminum foil or a baking tray. Grill 2-3 minutes, then flip to skin side down for another 2-3 minutes or until the fish flesh is opaque and just cooked through.

6. Serve the crushed potato vinaigrette alongside the mackerel topped with fresh lime wedges.

Grilled Mackerel and Potato Vinaigrette served with Greek salad 


Sunset on the Chesapeake Bay


  1. Sounds and looks very tasty. Of course, the hardest part would be much easier when there's a fisherman like me around!!!!!!!

    1. Very true! Or you could be in charge of catching the seaweed to make a nice side salad :-)

  2. That "manly" portion looks good to me. lol Still crabbing?

    1. The fish looked small next to those giant, coconut sized limes LOL.

      Guess it all depends on the size of the fish on the hook, or perhaps these "manly" portions help us stay slim 'n trim :-)

      We still crab at anchor during the summer season, but didn't catch as many last year as we have in the past. Definitely caught more fish last summer while out than crabs. Had more success crabbing off the dock than at anchor last year...