How to Use mackerel and pollack

We use mackerel and pollack heavily at Cookery School. They feature most heavily in our Ultimate Fish and Shellfish class, where we show people how to make such lovely dishes as fish cakes and smoked mackarel pate.

The reason we use pollack and mackerel so heavily are because we can obtain these fish from sustainable sources (as verified by the Marine Conservation Society). We use Sole of Discretion as a supplier as they operate on an ethos of full transparency, even letting us know the name of the fisherman that brought in the catch!

Here’s how you can use them in your kitchen at home.


Pollack is a lovely, versatile white fish that we tend to use as a substitute for threatened species, particularly cod. It’s a little softer than cod, but works just as well and is very tasty.  We use it in fish cakes and goujons, both oven-baked.

Pollack also makes a beautiful fish plaki, a Greek-style dish with onions, tomatoes and olives (in the winter, try onions, fennel, or even spinach).

Of course, with quality fish, simple is often best. Try pollack grilled with herbs, or pair it with a beautiful sauce such as black butter sauce, hollandaise or bearnaise.


This oily fish is endlessly versatile. We like to smoke mackerel using tea leaves and sugar, in a pan lined with foil. We serve this with a relish made of pear and port, or anything sweet and sour like a good balsamic vinegar.

Mackerel is an oily fish, packed with healthy omega-3s. It’s delicious simply grilled but it needs to be served with something to cut through its inherent fattiness. A compote of something sharp like rhubarb is a good start. Other fruit compotes can be made sharp by the addition of vinegar, salt and sugar.

Soused mackerel is gorgeous. Make a light pickle of vinegar, salt, sugar and water and season to taste. Pop thinly sliced onion into the pan along with pickling spices and a little slivered carrot. Add the mackerel and simply cook it in the oven until it just turns opaque (do not overcook!). Chill and eat.

Join us for our next Ultimate Fish and Shellfish class here.

How To Ingredients