Grilled Mackerel

grilled mackerel with salsa verde & oranges

One of the highlights of our tragically short summer is preparing a meal, with friends  and family, outside on the grill. One of the lowlights of the summer is eating the same old hamburger or hot dog every single time anyone has a bbq. It's not necessary. There are other options.

Grilling fish fillets can be tricky. They stick, flake apart, fall in between the grates. It's crazy. On the other hand, grilling a whole fish is simple and makes for a fast and delicious dinner. 

This recipe for grilled mackerel with tangy salsa verde and sweet oranges is one of my favourite summer bbq meals. Mackerel is a slightly oily fish which ensures that it won't dry out under the intense heat of the bbq. Rather, you'll end up with a perfectly cooked, orange scented fish with a delicious, salsa verde infused, crispy outside. Perfection.




2-3 whole mackerel or sardines - scaled, cleaned and patted dry

4 tbsp parsley - chopped

1 tbsp capers - rinsed and chopped

1 tsp green peppercorns - chopped

1 clove garlic - minced

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp fresh orange juice 

1/4 tsp salt + more for sprinkling inside the fish

1/8 tsp fresh black pepper

6 orange slices 


1. on either side of the fish, make 3-4 slits 1/2 inch deep and rub the fish, inside and outside, with salt.

2. to make the salsa verde, in a small bowl, combine orange juice, olive oil, parsley, garlic, capers, green peppercorns, black pepper and salt. mix well.

3. using your hands, rub the salsa verde onto the fish, taking care to get as much as you can into the slits. repeat on both sides. pour any remaining juices left in the bowl over the fish.

4. stuff the cavity of the fish with 2-3 orange slices.

5. Grill in a well oiled fish basket on a preheated BBQ for 20 minutes until the fish flakes easily when poked with a sharp knife. OR, roast in a 425° oven on a roasting tray with a bottom rack for 35 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the fish flakes easily when poked with a sharp knife. 

Serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread.