Mackerel Melt Recipe

Skip the tuna and opt for the more sustainable and flavorful mackerel in this twist on the classic sandwich.

Nothing seems to scream tinned fish more than a traditional tuna salad. Unfortunately, most canned tuna is not caught in a sustainable way, and the tuna populations all over the world reflect this. So skip the tuna salad and make a mackerel salad instead. No flavor is lost, and you can feel good knowing that with this one easy swap, you are playing a small part in protecting our planet.

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes



1 stalk celery, finely diced
½ cucumber, finely diced
¼ small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, minced
kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup|115 grams mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
freshly ground black pepper
2 (4.2-ounce|120-gram) tins mackerel in piri piri sauce


In a medium bowl, combine the celery, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño. Add a small pinch of salt, mix, and let sit for 5 minutes. This time allows the salt to pull moisture from the vegetables, making the salad, well, less watery. After the 5 minutes, drain off the liquid. Mix in the olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise, chives, dill, tarragon, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the mackerel fillets until well incorporated. Taste and reseason if necessary. The salad will keep for 3 days.

What to Do with Mackerel Salad

Mackerel salad is delicious on its own or piled into lettuce cups, but you can never go wrong serving it in a sandwich. There are so many ways to use it.

As a Melt: One slice of white bread, topped with mackerel salad, sliced red onion, bread-and-butter pickles, and a slice of American cheese. Broil until browned and bubbling.

Excerpted from The Magic of Tinned Fish by Chris McDade (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

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