They have been eaten in this country for hundreds of years, with recipes featuring in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management of 1861. The Romans used them to make garum, their version of fish sauce, a thick pungent, savoury paste.
They are best enjoyed when stiff-as-a-board fresh, as they deteriorate quickly. This is why they are now often found cured – smoked mackerel is widely available and delicious. Worth seeking out are the whole smoked fish from fishmongers – a vastly superior, denser offering.
Try them in a recipe like the one in our blog, or grilled with a salsa or tomato and olive dressing.