Roasted Mackerel (Sgombro al Forno)

Mackerel is a cheap and tasty fish, and healthy because it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. I’ve prepared it as ceviche, in a quiche with sauerkraut, and marinated ‘in saor’. Recently I saw oven-roasted mackerel on two of my favorite blogs: from the Bartolini kitchens and le Ricette di Baccos. And so when I was contemplating the display at the fishmonger’s trying to decide what to have for dinner, I decided to prepare oven-roasted mackerel. Here’s my version…


For 1 serving

1 fresh mackerel, about 400 grams (.9 lb), gutted

2 baby carrots

handful of cherry tomatoes

small handful of black pitted olives (I used taggiasca olives, my favorite)

1 sprig rosemary

1 clove garlic

2 sprigs thyme

lemon wedges

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

pinch of sugar

1/2 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley


The carrots need to be parboiled. Cut them into 5 cm (2″) lengths and parboil them in water with a bit of salt and a pinch of sugar for 10 minutes. Drain, allow to cool a bit, and rub off the skin.

Put the cherry tomatoes, parboiled carrots, and olives in a baking dish and add some olive oil. Toss to coat the vegetables with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 225ºC/440ºF.

Stuff the cavity of the mackerel with the rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Rub the mackerel with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Arrange the mackerel in the baking dish.

Roast in the oven at 225ºC/440ºF for about 15 minutes or until the mackerel is just cooked. Do not overcook, as even though mackerel is a fatty fish it will become dry otherwise.

Serve the mackerel with the veggies and some lemon wedges, sprinkled with parsley.


Two years ago I prepared pappardelle with mushrooms. Pappardelle are Kees’ favorite fresh pasta shape: very wide ribbons. This pasta dish is made with fresh mushrooms and reconstituted porcini mushrooms, using the soaking liquid to make the sauce.


12 thoughts on “Roasted Mackerel (Sgombro al Forno)

  1. I would’ve loved to have been a dinner guest to enjoy this beautiful dish! I have to admit I’ve never prepared a whole fish, but you’ve made it look so simple. The list of ingredients are those that I’d reach for too.

    Thank you for the inspiration today!


  2. Perfect! I was just reading this morning about mackerel – the article suggested Spanish mackerel was milder than other kinds. Do you know where yours came from? Personally, I think as long as the fish is fresh, you can’t go wrong..,.


  3. Although I cook whole fish often, mostly steaming it in the Chinese style I have never baked a mackerel [not even John’s as yet] and this will really go on top of my ‘to do’ pile, since it is the one fish I can actually get!!


  4. Isn’t mackerel a great fish? And so relatively inexpensive, too! Roasting it like this is so easy and the resulting meal is so tasty, that it has become a regular part of my diet. We had better keep quiet about it though. If people catch on, the price is bound to go up. To that end…

    Mackerel? Never tried the stuff! 😉


  5. This does look very tasty indeed. I have not cooked mackerel in a long time. I caught enough of them as a lad to feed a few armies. I must redress this situation.


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