Seared mackerel with chilli, cucumber, spring onion and coriander


The zing of the chilli and spring onion, coupled with fresh cucumber elevates this lightly seared mackerel to another level. Simple to prepare at home, this is a perfect dish for summer from Geoffrey Smeddle’s work with the Sunday Herald.

Type: Main

Serves: 4


  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves
  • 3 limes
  • 8 fresh mackerel fillets, pin bones removed
  • olive oil
  • salt


Step 1.

Prepare the vegetables and garnish before cooking the mackerel. Cut off the ends of the cucumber then use a swivelhead peeler to slice from one end to the other, making long ribbons of cucumber like tagliatelle


  • 2 cucumbers
Step 2.

Give the cucumber a quarter turn after you have peeled each length, so that you peel down to the core evenly and get narrow strips

Step 3.

Stop when you reach the seeds at the centre and set the ribbons aside in a bowl for now

Step 4.

Cut the chilli in half lengthways and remove the seeds, then cut the chilli into a fine dice or strips. Add three-quarters of it to the cucumber ribbons and reserve the remainder


  • 1 red chilli
Step 5.

Now prepare the spring onions. Trim off the root, pulling away any loose or damaged outer layers. Thinly slice the spring onion on an angle across the width


  • 1 bunch of spring onions
Step 6.

Just before cooking the fish, pick the coriander leaves from their stalks and chop them finely


  • 1 handful of coriander leaves
Step 7.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add a generous film of olive oil. While waiting for the heat to rise, cut the limes in half, squeezing the juice over the cucumber and chilli mix along with two tablespoons of olive oil


  • olive oil
  • 3 limes
Step 8.

Toss well, adding the coriander and half of the spring onion

Step 9.

Season the fillets of mackerel with salt and place them in the pan, skin side down


  • 8 fresh mackerel fillets
  • salt

Step 10.

Cook as many fillets at one time as fit comfortably in the pan without crowding

Step 11.

Sear the fish on the skin side until crisp, which should take about a minute and a half

Step 12.

Squeeze a little lime juice over the fillets then turn them over. Cook the fish for another minute then lift the fillets out on to a plate lined with kitchen paper

Step 13.

Arrange the cucumber mix in a long pile across the middle of four serving plates. Place 2 mackerel fillets on each mound then scatter the rest of the spring onion and remaining chilli over the top

Step 14.

Spoon any juice left in the bowl of cucumber over the fish then eat at once


The Peat Inn
Peat Inn, Near St. Andrews
Fife, Scotland
KY15 5LH


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