• Kelp-cured blue mackerel with fennel salad (Food Safari Water)Source: Food Safari Water

The kelp adds a subtle umami note that brings out the sweetness of the mackerel. Food Safari Water




Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 2 whole blue mackerel, head off, gutted, filleted and pin-boned
  • 1 tbsp fine salt 
  • 250 ml (1 cup) rice wine vinegar
  • 4 sheets dried kelp (kombu), cut in half lengthways
  • 1 tsp brine from a jar of preserved lemons
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • Micro herbs such as red garnet and shallots
  • cup broken pomelo segments



  • 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • ½ tsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ tsp finely chopped red Asian shallots
  • 1 tsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin


Fennel salad

  • 2 bulbs young fennel
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 3 hr

Place the fish fillets, flesh side up on a tray, Season evenly with the salt and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour 200 ml of the vinegar into a bowl. Pass each fillet through the vinegar and place on a plate. This removes the salt and lightly pickles the fish.

Wipe the kelp sheets with the remaining vinegar. Paint the flesh side of the mackerel with the lemon brine and place each fillet, flesh-side down on one sheet of kelp. Place another sheet of kelp on top and place on a tray. Cover the tray in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight if time permits.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

To serve, using a mandolin, finely shave the fennel into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix to combine.

Remove the skin from the mackerel and slice very finely across the grain. Place on a bed of the fennel salad, then spoon the dressing evenly over the mackerel. Drizzle with olive oil, then garnish with the chives, micro herbs and pomelo. Serve immediately.


Maeve O'Meara is back in Food Safari Water starting 8pm, Wednesday 1 August on SBS and then you can catch-up on all episodes via SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.