Mackerel tabbouleh recipe

This tabbouleh has hints of the Eastern Med and also goes well with lamb.

Photograph: Ellis Parrinder. Food Styling: Katie Marshall. Styling: Charlie Phillips. Creative Direction: Chloe Sharp


75g wholewheat bulgur

1 cucumber, ends trimmed

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra for frying

4 mackerel fillets (about 100g each)

2 tbsp nonpareil capers, rinsed 8 cocktail gherkins, thinly sliced 2 tbsp currants

1 large spring onion, finely sliced then chopped

100g bunch flat-leaf parsley, tough stalks removed and coarsely chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, add the bulgur and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender. Drain using a sieve, then spread over a plate and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile halve the cucumber lengthways and cut into slices 3mm-4mm thick. Toss in a large bowl with a little more salt than you might to season it, and set aside for 30 minutes. Fill the bowl with cold water, give the cucumber a sloosh, then drain using a colander and pat dry between double layers of kitchen paper. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Season the mackerel fillets on both sides and fry, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes until golden and crisp and the flesh is almost cooked through. Turn and cook the flesh side for 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Mix the capers, gherkins, currants, spring onion and parsley into the cucumber, then stir in the bulgur.
  5. To serve, gently break each mackerel fillet into four. Season the tabbouleh, dress with the remaining oil and the lemon juice, then transfer to a large serving dish and mix in the mackerel.


Prepare up to the fourth stage a couple of hours in advance. Cover everything and set aside until ready to serve.