Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Mackerell on Roasted Veg

Kitchen On The Edge is just around the corner and we wanted to share a lovely variation of an old River Cottage favourite from guest chef Hugh: baking mackerel over potatoes roasted with onions, bay leaves and lemon wedges. 

“Here I’ve swapped around the veg and added some fruit – apples are lovely with mackerel – and a nice bit of spice.” – Hugh

Ingredients (Serves 4)

300g new potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky cubes 
4 large carrots, cut into chunky pieces
2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil 
2 tart eating apples, cored and each cut into 8 wedges 
1 tsp cumin, caraway or fennel seeds 
2 very fresh large (or 4 medium) mackerel, filleted 
8 bay leaves
Sea salt and black pepper 
1⁄2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges, to serve (optional) 


Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. 

Put the potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic cloves into a large oven dish and trickle over most of the olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper and tumble everything together. Roast for 40–45 minutes, taking the dish out once or twice for a good stir, until the veg is looking golden and appetising. 

Scatter the apple wedges into the dish and toss lightly with the roasted veg. Sprinkle over the spice seeds, saving a few for the fish. Lay the mackerel fillets, skin side up, on top. Brush or trickle the fish with a little more olive oil and tuck a bay leaf under and over each fillet. Sprinkle over the rest of the spice seeds and season with salt and pepper. 

Return the dish to the top of the oven for 12–15 minutes or until the mackerel fillets are cooked and the skin is golden and blistered. Alternatively, you can finish it by placing the dish under a hot grill, to get a bit of crisp, golden blistering on the skin of the fish. The heat of the veg will cook the fish through from underneath as well. Serve at once, with lemon wedges for squeezing over, if you like.

From Eat Better Forever, Bloomsbury 2020.
Photo by Simon Wheeler