How to Fillet & Cook Spanish Mackerel


Mackerel are a common fish along the Atlantic side of North and South America. The fish can be strong tasting and should be filleted and eaten the same day as it is killed. With a high fat content in the flesh, the fish can go rancid easily. Filleting a freshly caught mackerel is simple, and cooking it even more so. The flesh does not require a high amount of seasoning, and can be cooked quickly for a delicious and healthy meal.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh mackerel, gutted
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towels
  • Large baking dish
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Tinfoil

Filleting Mackerel

  • Place the fish on the cutting board, with the head closest to your less dominant hand.

  • Insert the knife behind the pectoral fin and the gills, using your dominant hand. Cut from the top all the way down to the bottom of the fish, stopping in the middle, before the backbone.

  • Cut towards the tail, along the middle bones of the fish, from the incision behind the gills.

  • Slice off the meat, ending at the tail. This constitutes one fillet. Flip the fish over and repeat steps one through four with the other side.

  • Cut a "V" around either side of the dark red streak in the middle of one of the fillets. Remove it. Repeat this with the other fillet. The fillets are now ready for cooking.

Cooking Mackerel

  • Rinse the fillets under running cool water. Pat them dry with paper towel.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the melted butter, paprika, garlic and lime juice.

  • Pour the butter mixture over the mackerel, after placing it in the baking dish. Marinate it for 20 minutes.

  • Insert the baking dish in to the oven. Cook for 10 minutes per pound.

  • Remove the fish and allow it to rest for five minutes, tented with tinfoil, before serving. Pour the remaining marinade from the baking dish over the fish right before eating.

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