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Mackerel?

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Where do people find mackerel? I see all of these great recipes - looking at the beet, celery root, and smoked mackerel in Plenty most recently. I live in LA, so it shouldn't be too hard to track down. But I can't find any kind of mackerel at regular grocery stores or Whole Foods. Actually, that's not quite true -- the WF fish guy went into the back where he pulled out a frozen pack of peppered mackerel at $17.99 for 12 oz. That seems a bit steep.

I'm eager to learn to use a new fish for me that seems to be gaining in popularity. But wonder where to find it. How much should it cost? Any favorite recipes?

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  1. Frozen Mackerel is readily available in every supermarket here in New Jersey, so it should be the same in California. Given the large Asian population in LA, I would suggest you go to any Chinese, Japanese or Korean market that has a fishmonger......it a popular fish for Asian palates. Fresh Makerel is always under $3/lb at the local H Marts here. I believe the chain has stores in Los Angeles as well. At independent markets, it's not unusual to see the fish selling for $1.49-2.49 most of the time.

    As for a recipe.....I like to split them open and sread some Miso paste or Chinese Red Bean Paste on them and simply grill or broil. Indoors, pan searing or frying in a pinch.

    1. Fresh mackerel's available at every supermarket fish counter in the UK and, of course, is one of the most common fish available at fishmongers.

      I'm happy to eat it simply filleted and fried (or grilled). Pretty good baked whole, stuffed with herbs or as in this recipe - http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/ma...

      And this is pretty good if you're looking for a recipe with a bit of spice - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/35...

      1. Thanks guys. I will definitely check the Asian stores - not sure why I didn't think of that. But, it's not in any of the regular stores I frequent. I'm thrilled to see the price range as being less than I saw at WF! I suspected it might be more available in the UK as I see it in many of the British cookbooks.

        Those recipes look great. Keep em coming.

        1. I've only bought it at at the farmer's market. I imagine they have it in Chinatown but I'm not sure how to ask for it.

          1. A quick look at the wiki entry for Mackerel shows many species, I would want to be sure what I was buying. It is a fish best eaten VERY fresh, and I know that's true of lots of fish, but buying frozen you never know.

            The peppered mackerel at WF were probably smoked, a popular option in the UK and delicious though I prefered wthout the peppercorns.

            1 Reply
            1. re: andrewtree

              Yep, smoked is very easily available in the UK, with or without the pepper. I use it for salads, sandwiches or turned into a pate (blitzed in the processor with creme fraiche & creamed horseradish)

            2. I can only speak for the East coast. Here there are 3 species of mackeral that turn up in markets. Smallest is Atlantic mackerel- sold as "Boston mackerel". Its excellent but very oily. In season now...excellent if very fresh. I doubt I would trust it frozen. Spanish mackeral is silvery with pink flesh. Its larger and leaner. Excellent also, but not usually as fresh. King mackeral is very large, sold in steaks, with greyish flesh. Tastes good, but very high in mercury. The Asian markets sell mainly Spanish mackerel and King mackerel. Farmers markets will sell Atlantic mackerel. Other fish markets, it depends on the demands of the clientele. I love mackerel. My wife won't eat it though.

              1. The only place I ever see mackerel is at the Asian groceries. At WF, however, they have amazing smoked tin mackarel from Bar Harbor foods. WONDERFUL.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JudiAU

                  BTW- Maccalls had it this weekend. Excellent.

                  1. re: JudiAU

                    Sadly, Bar Harbor has discontinued their Smoked Atlantic Mackerel. I now purchase Ducktrap-brand Smoked Peppered Mackerel from Whole Food's refrigerated section. Those are not as convenient as tinned, and the salt/pepper content is very high, but I can't find any other smoked Atlantic Mackerel in the my area (Baltimore).

                  2. I'm in the LA area too, and I find Spanish mackerel occasionally at Ralphs. However, Marukai and other Japanese markets have very small good mackerel, the size you can get grilled in a Japanese restaurant. Down the scale, especially in price, I see it on the fish counters in 99 Ranch and other Asian supermarkets. There is also always mackerel in those acres of freezer cases in the Asian stores.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      You might also check with Fish King in Glendale. They're more expensive than the Asian markets, but their fish and service are always excellent.

                    2. I'm in Manhattan, so I can't give you shopping tips, but I picked up some Spanish mackerel the other day (from South Carolina, if memory serves). I baked it, topped with sauteed red onion and toasted bread crumbs. Very un-fancy, but easy as pie and not bad at all.

                      1. Since you live in LA, there are two kinds of mackerel. american (saba) and spanish (aJI). American is larger and is what you will see in local sushi bars. Their skins have wavey patterns but the spanish do not.

                        To purchase these fish, go to any Japanese /Asian market. The cost is not over $$4.00 per pound.

                        Go to Japanese markets like Nijiya or Marukai, There will always be a plentiful supply.

                        1. Every asian market i've ever been to has had mackerel.

                          1. There are several species of mackerel. In Hawaii they have ONO which on the east coast is
                            Whaoo. It is one of the best fish in the sea. The tail can be divided into small pieces that are outstanding fried or broiled. Here on the coast of North Carolina we take filets and brush them with olive oil, oregano, lemon and place on the grill. It usually does not make it to the table as our teenage children eat it as it comes off the grill. Hope you can find some!!!

                            1. The largest mackerel is tuna, also known as horse mackerel.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                But I don't think the OP was asking about "horse mackerel", but rather about the smaller species of mackerel that most folks consider "mackerel".