Available wild-caught, it is a marine fish found in open waters and near reefs and islands around most of Australia except the southern coast from Esperance (WA) to Geelong (VIC). It’s the most popular commercial Mackerel in Australia and is mostly caught off Queensland, the NT and WA, with some from northern NSW.
It looks similar to Grey Mackerel, especially when young, due to the dark vertical bars along the sides.
Mackerel, Macko, Narrow-bar, Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel, Snook, Spaniard.
Available year round with peaks from September to October.
Size and Weight
The largest Mackerel, commonly 2-15kg and 55-125cm, but can grow to 50kg and at least 200cm.
Mackerels (Blue, Frigate, Grey, School, Shark, Spotted), Bonito, Tunas.
Sold mainly as cutlets and steaks. In cutlets and steaks look for bright off-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any dark brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Make sure whole fish is scaled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish, fillets and cutlets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days (it is best eaten as fresh as possible) or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
Average yield is 40%. Has a strong, distinctly ‘fishy’ flavour, medium to very high oiliness and medium-dry, firm flesh. The thin skin can be eaten, but it’s usually sold skinned and has few bones, which are easily removed. Score thick fillets at the thickest part of the flesh to allow even heat penetration.
Pan-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, pickle.
Goes Well With
Strong flavours, bay, basil, citrus, curry, garlic, mustard, onion, oregano, pepper, red wine, tomatoes, vinegar.
Other Mackerels, Bonito, Striped Marlin, Swordfish, Tunas.
Imported frozen, in fillets, cutlets, trunks and canned from Fiji, India, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.
Char-grilled Fish Kebabs
Kokoda (Fijian Raw Fish Salad)
Spanish Mackerel Cutlets with Warm Lentil & Preserved Lemon Salad
Moroccan-style Grey Mackerel with Garlic & Yoghurt Sauce