A traditional Irish recipe taken from My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections, by Maura O’Connell Foley.

The fillets have a naturally oily flesh, and the crunchy oat crust adds a pleasant contrast. As well as serving the fish with the salsa verde or caper salsa, the gooseberry and elderflower sauce (p178) also works well.

The salsa goes well with a variety of smoked fish including salmon, mackerel, or eel. It’s best made early to allow the vinegar to start pickling the onion for a sweeter salsa. It is very suitable for a substantial breakfast. 

Pan-fried mackerel in an oatmeal crust with salsa verde recipe


Serves 4 


- 4 mackerel, cleaned, with skin on, deboned leaving the two fillets still attached to the tail fanned out 

- 3 tbsp melted butter 

- 55g / 2oz organic porridge oats 

- 4 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil 

- Sea salt and cracked black pepper 

Salsa Verde: 

- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 

-  2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves 

- 2 tbsp finely sliced basil leaves 

- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

- 2 tbsp small capers, strained, leave whole 

- 8 gherkins, finely chopped 

- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 

- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 

- Zest of 2 limes and 2 tbsp lime juice 

- 4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil 

- A pinch of sugar (optional) 

Red Onion & Caper Salsa: 

- 2 small red onions, finely diced 

- 2 tbsp small capers, strained, leave whole 

- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 

- 1⁄2 tbsp grated fresh horseradish or 1 tbsp horseradish sauce 

- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

- A little squeeze of lemon juice 

- Sea salt and cracked black pepper 


Layout the fillets skin side down on a plate. Spoon over the melted butter to evenly coat, then season. Dip the buttered flesh in the oats to coat generously on the flesh side. 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and gently fry the mackerel skin side up (oats down in the pan) for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Turn the fillets and cook for a further 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve from the pan with either the salsa verde or caper salsa. 

Salsa verde: 

In a bowl, mix together the herbs with the garlic, capers, and gherkins. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and zest, then stir into the herb mixture. Mix in the olive oil and taste. Add more oil if desired. If too bitter, stir in a pinch of sugar. Season to taste. 

Red onion and caper salsa: 

In a bowl, mix together the onions, capers, parsley, and horseradish. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice, then season to taste, adding more lemon juice if necessary. 

Read more: My Wild Atlantic Kitchen dishes up Irish recipes spanning 60 years

My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections (RRP €35) is available from Amazon or directly from www.mywildatlantickitchen.com.