Pan fried mackerel with a tomato, fennel spaghetti

This is a really simple dish that is sure to impress your guests and is super healthy as well! The thing I love most about mediterranean cuisine is that they use fresh ingredients and let them shine without complicating things. This is also a dish that illustrates that calories aren’t the only thing we should focus on. In fact I have completely give up caring about calories and I focus on what nutrients food has to offer.  This dish might have the calorie equivalent of a fast food dish (due to the good oils in the fish) but i’m sure you won’t feel as full or satisfied after a fast food meal than with this dish, nor would you get the nutrients that you need from fast food. The thing about fast food is that it’s addictive, tastes good  and has contains pretty much zero essential nutrients. Your body keeps on eating and eating and won’t get satiated because there’s nothing there to satiate it and so the cycle continues on and on.      


  • 100g Mackerel with skin still on per person. You can use any piece of fish
  • 4 ansjovis in olive oil. I use this instead of salt and it add another dimension
  • ½  onion per person.
  • 2 pieces of garlic per person.
  • Lemon
  • 2 tomatoes per person.
  • ½ bulb of fennel per person
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoning for example chilli

Mise en place*

  1. Take the fish out of the fridge half an hour before cooking
  2. Thinly slice the garlic
  3. Dice all the vegetables
  4. I like to blend the tomatoes with the lemon juice to make more of a sauce but that’s not necessary
  5. Boil water with 1 teaspoon of salt per liter of water! I can’t stress this enough
  6. Score the mackerel and season with salt and pepper and any other seasoning of your choice. Remember that most of the seasoning falls of the fish when cooking so don’t be afraid to season. This rule applies to all meat that you fry in a pan.
  7. Zest and juice the lemon
  8. Heat up a big pan for the sauce to medium high


Where the magic happens

  1. In the hot pan add one tablespoon of olive oil per person and add the anjovis
  2. Once the ansjovis has almost completely dissolved add the fennel and onion and cook until softened
  3. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes a dash of lemon juice and zest and lower heat. Continue to cook until the pasta is added
  5. Season sauce according to taste.
  6. Cook the pasta according to package or until al dente (around 10 minutes)
  7. When the pasta is cooked reserve some of the cooking broth in case you would like to create more sauce. This is a good habit when making pasta also for other dishes
  8. Fry the mackerel in a medium hot pan  skin side first. this way you will avoid your fish from curling and shrinking. the mackerel cooks quite quickly
  9. Add the pasta to the sauce, not the other way round, and mix
  10. Plate up and enjoy



  • If you really are worried about the calories then what i recommend is having a big salad with this and cutting your portion of pasta in half. Talk about the best of both worlds 😉

*Mise en place is a term used in cooking which when translated means “putting in place.” These are all the preparations that are done before cooking can take place. I put this in a different section because not only will it save you time and stress, but it helps in decreasing mistakes during cooking.

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