How to butterfly mackerel

This is a great technique to add to your kitchen armoury, especially if you're familar with, and want to copy, Rick's popular recipe from Goa, mackerel recheado.

I often wonder whether this is the best way to serve mackerel. There is something about the way the oily fish and the flavours of the garlic, ginger, Kashmiri chilli, onion, tamarind and spices blend together which is endlessly pleasing.

Follow our expert guidance

How to butterfly fillet a mackerel

You’ll need

- Whole mackerel

- Sharp, flexible knife

- Scissors

- Pin bone tweezers

- Chopping board

Follow this method to butterfly a whole mackerel:

1. Remove the head of the fish. Start to cut away the top fillet until you can get the whole blade of the knife underneath it. Rest your other hand on top of the fish and cut the fillet away from the bones until you are about 2cm away from the tail.

2. Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.

3. Pull back the top fillet and snip out the backbone close to the tail with scissors. The fillets will still be attached by the tail.

4. Spread the cut face of one fillet with your chosen paste (Rick suggests this one from Goa), then put the fish back into shape.

5. Tie the fish in two places with some string and grill or barbecue for 3 minutes on each side.


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