Lemon and Olive Mackerel

May 20, 2011


Whole Foods was selling wild, frozen at sea, whole Norwegian mackerels. I’m a big fan of fatty, wild fish, and I’ve run out of the wild Alaskan salmon I had frozen last season. So… I bought a whole case. Granted, I am sharing it with my parents. But still, I’ve never bought as much stuff in bulk as now that I eat paleo/primal. I probably would’ve gotten a whole case for myself, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like it enough to bother. I don’t remember the last time I had cooked mackerel (though the smoked stuff is yummy).


I try to eat fish 1-2 times a week, but I only eat the fattiest ones that have the highest omega 3, while at the same time having the lowest amount of mercury/toxins. So the omega 3 to toxin ratio’s gotta be high, otherwise I don’t bother. Even if a fish / seafood is low on the mercury chart, if it doesn’t have very high omega 3’s, I pass. This means I generally stick to wild Alaskan salmon, herring, sardines, and now also mackerel. The cool thing about this mackerel is that it comes whole, unlike the salmon that’s only available headless. Although I didn’t exactly take full advantage of that the first time around.

I was very surprised at just how much I liked the mackerel. I thought it’d taste something like salmon – really good stuff, but nothing to write home about. But the flavour and fattiness of this mackerel blew me away. I couldn’t stop raving about how tasty it was. Mind you, maybe I need to find some more exciting ways to cook salmon. Thus far, it’s just been my dinner-in-30-minutes convenient meal option where I put in zero effort and get a decent meal. Maybe I should up the effort a little :P I’ll have to experiment. Till then, here’s an awesome yet basic recipe for mackerel (served with some pan-fried asparagus, rainbow chard stems, and more butter).


  • 3/4 stick butter (approx.)
  • 1/4 onion, thickly sliced into rounds
  • 1/3 cup pitted olives, sliced (Kalamata work well)
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pre-heat baking sheet in oven.

2. Salt and pepper fish inside and out.

3. Cut 4 vertical slits on each side of the fish. Rub some butter into the slits.

4. Place lemon slices, cubes of butter, and olives inside the fish.

5. Take baking sheet out of the oven. Melt some butter onto sheet. Place fish on sheet.

6. Bake fish for 30 minutes.

Notes: Trying to place whole pieces of butter into the slits didn’t work out so well – they just fell out, so it’d probably be better to just rub some butter in there as best you can. Also, you can tie the fish with some kitchen string to make everything stay in better.


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