Deliciously salty, smoked mackerel is topped by sweet cranberry jelly and piquant mustard-coated potatoes in this potted mackerel recipe from Adam Gray. It makes a brilliant dinner party starter

To make the mackerel stock place all the dry seeds in a frying pan and heat until they are toasted to extract the flavour. Remove the eyes and gills of the mackerel carcasses, then chop and rinse
Prepare the vegetables by peeling and cutting the shallot into eighths, peeling and chopping the carrot, chopping the celery, fennel and the white of the leek
Put all ingredients in a saucepan, add just enough water to cover everything and bring to a simmer. Simmer, skimming for 15 minutes, then strain carefully through a muslin cloth
To make the cranberry jelly, put the frozen cranberries in a bowl with the sugar and cover with cling film. Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water for 30-40 minutes, until the cranberries are soft and have broken down
Tip the cranberries into a muslin cloth to drain. Adjust the cranberry juice with more sugar if necessary but retain a tartness
To make the potted mackerel, skin and pin-bone the fresh and smoked mackerel. Gently poach the fresh mackerel in the stock until just cooked, then leave to cool in the fish stock. Drain, reserving the stock
Place the fresh and smoked fillets of mackerel in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except the soft butter and blitz until smooth
Beat the butter, and add to the mackerel and pulse until just mixed. Make sure you don't over process this, as it will split
Remove the potted mackerel from the food processor and place in a bowl. Check the seasoning and add a little stock if you need to. Any final mixing must be done by hand with a spatula
To make the cranberry jelly, measure the cranberry juice and add an equal amount of mackerel stock, little by little. Taste as you measure - what you want is a balanced flavour
Measure the full amount of liquid and use 3 leaves of gelatine for each 600ml. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes, drain and stir into the liquid (make sure it is still hot)
Divide the potted mackerel between 4 small ramekins and top with a thin layer of cranberry jelly. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving
To make the dressing, mix the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the walnut and groundnut oils. Whisk in the white wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper
To make the potato salad, cut the potatoes into 1/2cm dice then cook in simmering water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool
Gently mix the potatoes with the chives and 4 tablespoons of white wine mustard dressing, ensuring not to crush the diced potatoes
Place the small pot of potted mackerel at the top of the serving plate and spoon a small pile of the potato salad at the bottom. Serve with a slice of toasted granary bread
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Wine Matching

Find out why we suggest matching this Potted mackerel recipe with a light and crisp white wine, a champagne or sparkling white wine, or a fresh and medium bodied white wine


Potted mackerel

Mackerel stock

Cranberry jelly

Potato salad

White wine mustard dressing

  • 5 tbsp of mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 50ml of walnut oil
  • 50ml of groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

To plate


  1. Food processor or blender
  2. 4 ramekins
  3. Muslin cloth

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This potted mackerel starter packs a real punch, paired with cranberry jelly and mustard potatoes. A splendid addition to a dinner party or feast

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