What is horse mackerel?
Hailing from Mediterranean waters as well as the Atlantic, the horse mackerel is a fish of the Carangidae family. Already a staple in Japan, it is now catching up in popularity in Europe. Its silvery body measures between 15 and 45 cm; it sports two dorsal fins and a prominent jaw. Its distinctive feature is its seven thin spines on the lower belly, designed to dissuade potential predators.
Often confused with “regular” mackerel, with which it travels in schools, horse mackerel is leaner; however, it is just as rich in protein and vitamin D.
Picking the best horse mackerel
The advantage of horse mackerel is that you can buy some all year round. In addition, it is an inexpensive product: it will enable you to both eat healthy and spend less. When choosing your horse mackerel, if you like stronger flavours, choose a larger fish; but if you’d rather fine-tune your cooking to perfection, opt for a smaller one. Whole, filleted, salted or smoked, you can buy horse mackerel in various forms – all of them delicious when cooked properly.
How to eat horse mackerel?
Once purchased, we recommend that you eat this fish quickly to take full advantage of its freshness. Its pearly, firm and delicate flesh will surprise the taste buds of those used to mackerel or sardines, which horse mackerel closely resembles.
Wrapped in foil, grilled, baked, fried, poached, marinated, pan-fried, braised, in a court-bouillon... There are many ways to sublimate this fish and its complex flavours. Already a crowd favourite in Asia, you can enjoy its firm flesh raw, in sushi, sashimi, but also as a carpaccio, ceviche or tartar.
To enjoy it safely, it is recommended to cook the horse mackerel in the oven for 1 minute at 60°C or to freeze it at -18°C for 7 days if it is to be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
Turn up the heat with this horse mackerel recipe idea
If you want to use horse mackerel in an original, simple and inexpensive recipe, we suggest Provençal skewers of horse mackerel. Savour the full depth of this delicious fish in a dish delicately flavoured with hints of Provençal herbs.
To make this for 4 people, you will need:
4 small horse mackerels of about 500g, headed and gutted by your favourite fishmonger
4 shallots (2 chopped and 2 quartered)
2 tablespoons of Herbes de Provence
3 sprigs of rosemary
4 tablespoons of olive oil
pink peppercorn to taste
8 wooden skewers
1 pinch of salt to taste
Start by preheating your oven to 210°C. Meanwhile, rinse and dry your fish to remove any impurities. Salt the inside of the horse mackerel, then add a few Herbes de Provence, crushed pink peppercorns and chopped shallots, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Once the preparation is finished, cut your fish into 3 or 4 pieces each, taking care to remove the heads. Then thread the slices onto skewers, starting with the tail to reconstitute the shape of the fish, alternating with slices of shallots and rosemary.
Then place your preparation in an oven dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil to taste.
Put the whole shebang in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the fish, and that’s a wrap!
You can enjoy this dish with steamed or fried potatoes all year round.
A recipe idea to enhance raw horse mackerel
If you are a fan of raw fish, if exotic flavours thrill your taste buds, then this recipe for horse mackerel ceviche is for you.
To make it, for 4 people, you will need
4 horse mackerel fillets cut by your favourite fishmonger
1 bunch of coriander
1 fresh chilli
1 piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
Start by making the marinade by squeezing the lemons, chopping the chilli and coriander. Use a garlic press for both your garlic and ginger, then mix everything together and set aside.
Skin your horse mackerel fillets and diagonally slice them, thinly, before placing them in a deep dish.
Pour the marinade over the fish and chill the dish for at least half an hour.
When ready to serve, arrange your fish strips on a plate with a little marinade, season with salt and pepper to taste then add finely chopped fresh onion; serve chilled and voilà!