Pickled Mackerel, Dad’s Recipe

Location: Black Country

“My Dad used to do pickled mackerel. He used to gut the fish and take all the middle out. He was really good like that; my Mum wouldn’t touch anything where she’d got to take innards out. Then he used to pickle them in vinegar and put cut onion on them and leave them for a few days. And we hadn’t got a fridge, but we used to have a pantry and it had a cold slab, so he’d put it on there. It was delicious and it stayed fresh for days because it was in vinegar. But I’ll always remember, it had a stick, a cocktail stick, through the middle and one time I forgot to take the stick out and it got lodged in my mouth!”
Mrs Sarai


  • 4 mackerel fillets
  • 70ml of white wine vinegar
  • 30ml water
  • 30g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt


Mix the vinegar, water, sugar and salt together in a pan and bring to the boil.

Remove from heat and cool.

Put the de-boned mackerel fillets flesh side down in the pickle. Leave for at least an hour.