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Pan fried mackerel fillets on toasted sourdough with pepperonata

Pan fried mackerel with pepperonata
Image | Mike Searle © Copyright | Cornwall Good Seafood Guide

Recipe by

Ken Symons Private Chef

My passion for great Cornish produce has never wavered, championing local artisan producers at every opportunity. I simply love food - cooking, eating and growing. With forty years experience within the restaurant and banquet industry and a wealth of awards behind me, including best westcountry chef and restaurant of the year. 
I now cook privately from 2 to 2000, have knife will travel, from design to execution - in my eyes, consistency is key.

Ken Symons (@kellylhagowl) • Instagram photos and videos

kensymons@privatechef (@kensymonspriva1) / Twitter



Ken Symons



2 mackerel fillets per person (ask your fishmonger to scale and fillet the fishes)
1 loaf sourdough 
2tbsp oil of choice 
Salt and pepper.
Ingredients for the Pepperonata
1tbsp oil of choice 
2 red peppers
2 green peppers 
1 red onion 
1/2 red chilli (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely sliced)
1/4 cup vinegar of choice, (I use sherry vinegar)
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp sliced green olives.



A fantastic light lunch or early supper dish, quick and easy to prepare and serve. Sustainable hand line caught Cornish mackerel is something that everyone should try, but it has to be fresh!  Buy direct from the fishermen or your local fish monger.
This recipe by legendary Cornish chef, Ken Symons, sees crispy fried mackerel complimented by a rich and piquant pepperonata, made with fresh red and green peppers, chilli and capers. 
Takes approximately 15 minutes to cook 
If you have caught the fish yourself or you have bought whole mackerel it is easy to fillet them – see our How to video.
To prepare your dish.
Heat a griddle pan, slice the sourdough thickly, slice a clove of garlic in half and rub over the bread, lightly oil and place on the griddle until charred on both sides. Place on the plate.
Warm your pepperonata mixture and spoon it on to the toasted soudough.
To fry the Mackerel
Add a little oil to a cold frying pan. 
Gently add the fish, skin side down.
Then turn on the heat, bringing it up rapidly so that the skin of the fish sizzles and crisps up, cook like this for 1 min, then carefully turn over and remove the heat. The heat of the pan will now cook the fillet through for you.
Leave for one more minute and then serve.
Place the fried fillets on top of the pepperade, season with salt and pepper, squeeze a little lime juice over and finish with picked coriander leaves.
This is a traditional Basque sauce that accompanies grilled seafood extremely well. It is quick and straight forward to prepare and once cooked can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 
Pre heat oven to 200 degrees, roast the whole peppers with a little oil for 10 mins.
Allow to cool, peel, de-seed and save the liquid.
Gently heat some oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the chilli and garlic, cook at a very low heat until very tender.
Add the sliced onion, add vinegar and sugar, cook on a medium heat 10 mins.
Stir in the sliced peppers, olives, capers and saved liquid.
Eat warm, will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, warm gently when needed.


Ken Symons 2020


Ring Netting

Cornish waters VIIe, f, g and h

Ring nets are used to encircle a shoal of pelagic fish. the main target species are sardines and anchovies but occasionally there is a by catch of mackerel landed.

Gill Netting


Gill nets are used during winter months on the south coast to target mackerel.

Hook and line

Cornwall areas VIIe and VIIf

Mackerel handling is a low impact, selective method of fishing using hook and line.

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