Living here in West Dorset gives us easy access to one of the countries top fishing beaches, Chesil Beach and this time of the year it is crowded with anglers catching lots of mackerel. All you need to catch these tasty treats is a rod & reel capable of casting a set of mackerel feathers 50 yards+ and you then just jig the feathers back in waiting for the mackerel to hit. It can be fast and furious if you are lucky enough to be there when they are feeding close to shore like in this photograph below. Once you have caught your mackerel please dispatch them quickly by breaking their necks of a good bash on the head, please please don’t just leave them to die!
They are best of course eaten as soon as possible fried in a little butter, preferably on the beach cooked over a BBQ! You can freeze them, but I feel they are never the same, but this recipe allows you enjoy your catch for up to 4-5 days. This is one from my Mothers cookery note book and one as kids enjoyed because it softens the bones, it is great with a summer herby salad and new potatoes.
Before leaving the beach it is best to gut & take the heads of the fish and also gives the gulls a good feed. Then to fillet your mackerel, take a sharp filleting knife and cut diagonally behind pectoral fin (photo 1) then twist the knife and glide the blade down to the tail over the back bone. You will then have a nice fillet as shown, do this to all your mackerel and wash & trim.
6-10 filleted mackerel
2 shallots cut into rings
10 pepper corns
3 bay leaves
300 ml malt vinegar (vary the amounts to just cover the mackerel)
300 ml water
Roll up the fish fillets from the head end and use a cocktail stick to secure. Pour over the vinegar & water place in herds & spices, cook for 1 hour gas mark 4.