Grilled Mackerel with Spicy Yuzu Citrus and Pepper Paste – recipe

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or just offshore, making them easy to catch. They are high in omega-3 oils and so a healthy fish.

Grilled Mackerel with yuzu
Before the 19th-century development of putting fish in tins and the widespread availability of refrigeration, salting and smoking were the typical methods of preservation. In England we mostly consume mackerel fresh and it’s still an economic meal.

Yuzu is a smallish citrus fruit and looks rather like an ugly lemon. It’s mainly grown in Japan, Korea, and China where it is prized for its sour flavour. It isn’t eaten fresh as a fruit, but its zest and juice are used in cooking.

This is so simple that it’s hardly a recipe at all. It combines mackerel and yuzu, the sharp fruit complementing the fish marvellously. The end result of very little work will make this a favourite with outside-grillers in the summer and also with indoor-cooks for the other 11 and a half months.

Spicy Yuzu Citrus and Pepper Paste is a traditional Japanese condiment and ‘Yuzu Koshou’ is now available in the UK. This paste is made from the Japanese yuzu citrus and is from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, but it doesn’t just lend itself to Japanese food – it works well with Western dishes that would be enhanced by robust citrus and a spike of heat. It’s easy to use and a jar is enough for 4 large mackerel.


Clean and gut the fish and pat them dry. Take half the contents of the jar and divide equally between the fish, spreading thoroughly on the inside. Grill for about 10-15 minutes or until done to your liking.

Place on a serving plate with the remaining paste smeared over the fish, or alternatively mixed with some mayonnaise and presented in a separate bowl.


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Recipe by Chrissie Walker © 2018