Season: Summer 

Mackerel barbecued over bay leaves


  • 4 medim sized mackerel (gutted & rinsed)
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Fresh bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Massage each fish with a few drops of olive oil.  Season the mackerel well, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
  2. Make sure your BBQ is hot and ready to cook over.  Put the grill over the coals and give it a good few minutes to heat up, then lay a thin bed of bay leaves on the hot grill and lay your mackerel on top of that.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fish and add a squeeze or two of lemon juice.  The bay will crackle and pop over the heat of the fire and release lots of perfumed smoke.  It is quite normal to see a few shooting flames at this point, too.  Don’t be alarmed; this will only enhance the flavour of the fish.
  4. Turn the fish after 5 minutes and cook for a few minutes longer, until the flesh is opaque all the way through.
  5. Serve straight away, with salsa verde, green salad and some potatoes lightly bashed and tossed with oil or butter.
  6. For a more simple meal, just serve with a lemony mayonnaise and some good bread.

Recipe from River Cottage