The Courier and Press & Journal newspapers carried a great recent feature in their Menu supplement on mackerel and why it is such a great meal choice. Here, is the article below.
Mackerel is the superfood of our seas – sleek silver bars of tastiness that abound around Scottish coasts for much of the year.
Sustainable, nutritious, delicious, and great value for money, mackerel is a fish more of us should be eating, says Fraserburgh fishing skipper, Ally West.
“Mackerel is a wonderful and delicious fish that tick so many boxes, most notably in being extremely healthy to eat,” he says. “The fillets are packed full of heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. Current health advice is that everyone should be eating fish twice a week, one of which should be an oil-rich species, such as mackerel.”
Ally will shortly be setting off with co-skipper Matty West on their vessel, Resolute, to embark upon the traditional end-of-the-year mackerel fishery off northern Scotland. Mackerel really is a fish that has gone from zero to hero, given that only as recently as the mid-1970s the consumption of mackerel in the UK was miniscule. Today, it is the Scotland’s most important fishery in terms of volume and value, and the fish are exported all over the world.
As is the case with other mackerel vessels in the Scottish fleet, the composition of the crew of the Resolute is largely a family affair, with many related to one another, and coming from fishing families that can be traced back several generations.
The mackerel fishery is closely regulated and controlled to ensure responsible catching, and Scottish mackerel fishers have also embarked upon a series of scientific initiatives to enhance knowledge of the stock and help ensure a sustainable future.
“We all recognise the importance of sustainable harvesting and the need for the fishery to be well-managed,” says Matty. “The Resolute is a new boat and we have invested heavily in it, so it is in our interests to ensure our mackerel and other fish stocks stay healthy, ensuring that our fishing tradition can be passed down to future generations.
“A recent study has shown that the Scottish mackerel fishery has a lower carbon footprint compared to most other forms of protein production, which is another plus-point for the environmentally-savvy consumer.”
So how does Ally like to eat his mackerel? He says: “Mackerel tastes wonderful – I love it fresh, sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning and then grilled. However, it comes in many other different forms such as smoked or canned mackerel, both of which are extremely versatile in the kitchen. For example, canned mackerel mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise makes a great sandwich filler, and hot smoked mackerel is the perfect accompaniment to a salad.
“Mackerel is an oily fish and when served fresh it works well with ingredients such as beetroot, gooseberries or tomato salsas, which perfectly complement one another. Mackerel is a great fish to experiment with in the kitchen, as it works well with so many different flavours and ingredients.”