American in Spain

Holy Mackerel with Garlic Recipe!

March 9, 2011

Living in a fishing village has its perks. When the fishing seasons change, suddenly everyone knows someone that has some fish to get rid of. Mackerel season just started, and I've heard lots of people around town saying, "Hey, you want some mackerel? I've got some extra." It's unclear to me exactly why this happens. My best guess is that they overfish, either intentionally or by accident, especially at the beginning of the season when the fishing's good, and they can only sell a certain amount of it legally in the market, so they give away the rest to friends, and the friends give it to their friends, and eventually the fish trickle down to all the dinner tables in town.

I don't regularly interact with many of the fishermen, but the other day Bruno, my neighbor and local butcher, knocked on my door and offered me some. I threw it in the fridge and, the next day, asked him how I should prepare it. What follows is the incredibly simple recipe he gave me. But first some photographs...

Mackerel Fishing Boat

A fishing boat returning with kilos upon kilos of mackerels.

Mackerel Haul

Crates of mackerel loaded onto the docks.

The Recipe

  1. Chop the mackerels into slices, about two fingers wide, perpendicular to the spine.
  2. Chop some garlic into thin sheets
  3. Lightly fry the garlic for a minute
  4. Lightly salt the mackerel slices and add to the frying pan
  5. Fry until fully cooked
  6. Serve and enjoy!

I used six cloves of garlic.

Frying Garlic

Really, is there any food that isn't good fried with garlic?


We had four fish and it was the perfect, if a bit large, serving size for two people.


You cut off the tail, of course.


Chopped and lightly salted.

Frying Mackerel

Added to the pan.

Fried Mackerel

Done and ready for serving. I didn't get any shots of the food on the plate because it looked so good I didn't stop to photograph it. Chopped like this, the bones, what I hate most about eating fish, were very easy to avoid.

Recipes don't get much more simple than this. Enjoy!