Pan-Fried Mackerel with Fennel & Horseradish Mashed Potato


I definitely don’t cook enough fish, something I feel I have gone some way to rectifying with this dish which I will certainly be making again. It’s so quick and looks/sounds a lot more impressive than the effort it takes to make. I have never cooked mackerel or fennel before so I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. I’m sure it would work perfectly well with other fish fillets too.

Serves 2


200-250g mackerel fillet (I had a small mackerel which I cut into 6 roughly square pieces)
1 fennel bulb, cut top to bottom into 1cm wedges
2 large old potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
3 spring onions, sliced into rings
2 tbsp horseradish
2 tbsp mayonnaise
milk, butter
salt and pepper


Put the potatoes onto boil with a little salt. Have a small plate to hand for putting your cooked fish/fennel.

Heat a large dollop of butter in a frying pan – the larger the better – and add the mackerel fillets skin-side down along with the fennel wedges. Sprinkle with rock salt and a good twist of pepper and cook on a medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes, pressing down with a burger-flipper/spatula each piece every now and again – you should see the fish flesh change colour. Once the skin side is golden brown and crisp, flip over and cook for a further minute or two, likewise the fennel. Once cooked through remove the mackerel from the pan – the fennel bulbs may need a little longer – and place on the plate.

When the potatoes are soft, drain, give a shake and return to the pan with a good glug of milk, the mayonnaise, horseradish, salt and pepper. Mash until creamy then stir in the spring onions. Return the now-mashed potato to the hob to heat through (adding a little water helps prevent it burning to the bottom of the pan) and put your fish/fennel back in the frying pan pan, also to heat through.

And essentially that’s it. Very fast, very tasty and once again no chilli or ginger! In fact that’s one of the reasons I liked this dish so much, other than salt and pepper there was nothing to mask the wonderful flavours of the fish and fennel (both of whixh I purchased at my local market, lar-di-dar. My mackerel set me back all of 98p, though admittedly I probably only had 100g).

A couple of tips:

1. You can debone the fish if you like, but I left them in and they were either eaten without hiccup or easily fished (ha!) out. I would suggest de-boning is an unnecessary faff.
2. When cutting the fennel bulb, keep a chunk of the thicker, tougher based at the bottom as it will hold all the individual leaves together

I honestly can’t wait to cook fish again now. Hurray!


have a little fishy, on a little dishy, with some fennel and some mash!

P.S. Sorry for the terrible picture, folks

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