Grilled Mackerel Fish in a Parchment Paper
Mackerel fish grilled in a parchment paper on a pan delivers delicious and perfectly cooked results while also eliminating strong fish odor in your kitchen with the help of recipe tips and tricks.
Grilled mackerel fish is a perfect seafood dish for those who love delicious and healthy meals. However, cooking fish can sometimes leave a lingering odor in your kitchen.
This Korean style grilled mackerel recipe and tips offer a solution: by using parchment paper, you can eliminate the unpleasant odor and enjoy a delicious and healthy dish. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make, and you can even use this method to cook any type of fish in your kitchen.
Mackerel Fish benefits
Mackerel is a delicious fish, no doubt about it! In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated types of fish in any cuisine. Not only is it tasty, but it also offers tremendous health benefits. I believe people should consume more of this flavorful blue-back fish.
- Rich taste: Mackerel has a rich taste with a slightly smoky flavor. It also has a firm texture that holds together. You can actually use chopsticks to pick the pieces up.
- Inexpensive: Mackerel is cheap, but the downside is mackerel is not always available in your local grocery stores. If you go to Asian markets, you will find stacks of fresh mackerel. The cost is around $2 per fish and the fish guy will clean it for you however you like.
- Good source of omega-3 acids: Mackerel is higher in inflammation-fighting omega-3 acids than other commonly eaten fish. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin, which are important for our health.
- Can Help with Weight Loss: Mackerel is a low-calorie, high-protein food that can help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
NOTE: Mackerel can be a healthy and delicious fish, but some types may contain mercury, such as King and Spanish mackerel. To reduce the risk of mercury consumption, it’s recommended to choose Atlantic or Alaska mackerel instead. Also, remember not to consume blue-backed fish too often, even if they are good for you.
How to pick fresh mackerel
Fresh mackerel should have firm flesh, clean and shimmering skin, and bright eyes. Make sure to keep the skin on when you ask the butcher to clean and fillet it for you. The skin will keep the flesh moist, and it provides the smoky flavor.
Salting fresh fish:
In Korean cuisine, fresh mackerel is often salted before grilling to add flavor and preserve the fish for a longer period. This simple but effective step is optional but highly recommended.
To do this, start by cleaning and filleting your mackerel, then sprinkle a generous amount of kosher or sea salt over it and let it marinate for 10-15 minutes. Once done, you can freeze the fish for up to 3 months, ready for your next meal or grilling session.
Tips for eliminating fish odor
Here I give you a few tips to reduce or even eliminate the fish odor so that you can enjoy this amazing fish without stressing about getting rid of the smell in the kitchen.
- Use rice water to soak the fish for 10 minutes. This is a good method especially if you are using the heavily salted mackerel that are sold in stores. Soaking helps to get rid of some of the extreme saltiness. It also helps reduce the fish odor. (You can skip this process if using fresh mackerel.)
- Use vinegar. Brush mackerel fillets with a small amount of vinegar. It firms up the flesh and makes the fish more enjoyable. Don’t worry, you won’t taste the vinegar at all.
- Use parchment paper. It not only locks in the moisture within your mackerel, it also seals the smell from sneaking outside. Once cooking is finished, the fish odor is gone and you will be surprised at the outcome–perfect-looking grilled mackerel.
If you are looking for more mackerel recipes, try my soy braised mackerel and radish or goglabi (Pan-fried mackerel with the gochujang sauce). These recipes put completely different twists on the preparation of mackerel.
How to make mackerel fish grilled in a parchment paper
If using an already salted mackerel fish, soak it in rice water for 10 minutes to reduce some of the saltiness. Take the fish out of the water and dry completely with a paper towel.
If using fresh fish, soak for 5 minutes or skip this step.
Apply a thin coat of vinegar (about 1 teaspoon) on both sides of the mackerel flesh and skin. Brush a piece of parchment paper with some oil.
Place the mackerel fillet in the parchment paper and fold it over the fish. Fold the sides of paper twice to make a pouch and seal the fish inside.
Place the pouch, folded side down, in a large pan over medium low heat and cover with a lid, cook for 6-7 minutes. When you see the pouch is puffing high, turn the pouch to the other side carefully so that the fish will stay flat inside.
You should see the bottom side of parchment paper showing golden brown. Cover and continue to cook for another 6-7 minutes over medium low heat. Open the pouch carefully using scissors and let the steam escape.
Place the grilled mackerel on a serving plate with lemon wedges and soy sauce for dipping. When ready to serve, squeeze the lemon over the fish. Take a piece of fish and dip it lightly in the soy sauce. Serve with rice.
Side dishes to go with grilled fish:
- Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish (Kongnaul Muchim)
- Korean Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi Namul)
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
More Mackerel Recipes
- Korean Mackerel and Radish Recipe
- Korean Pan-Fried Spicy Mackerel (Gogalbi)
- Mackerel Pike Kimchi Stew
Grilled Mackerel Fish in a Parchment Paper
- 1 mackerel fish, salted if available or use fresh, filleted
- 2 cup rice water
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce, to serve with
- 2 slices lemon wedges, to serve with
- If using an already salted mackerel fish, soak it in rice water for 10 minutes to reduce some of the saltiness. If using fresh fish, soak for 5 minutes or skip this step.
- Take the fish out of the water and dry completely with a paper towel. Apply a thin coat of vinegar on both sides of the mackerel flesh and skin.
- Brush a piece of parchment paper with some oil. Place the mackerel fillet in the parchment paper and fold it over the fish. Fold the sides of paper twice to make a pouch and seal the fish inside.
- Place the pouch, folded side down, in a large pan over medium low heat and cover with a lid, cook for 6-7 minutes. When you see the pouch is puffing high, turn the pouch to the other side and cover. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes.
- Open the pouch carefully using scissors and let the steam escape. Place the grilled mackerel on a serving plate with lemon wedges and soy sauce for dipping. When ready to serve, squeeze the lemon over the fish. Take a piece of fish and dip it lightly in the soy sauce. Serve with rice.
This recipe is really good. I’ve never heard of this way but it really does provide a beautiful sear and crisp to the fish
I am glad this turned out well for you. This is the method I use when I need to pan-grill anything. It always worked. Thanks for your comment.
Thank you so much for teaching this technique. I have cravings for shio yaki and now I can actually make my own without a grill or ordering from restaurant. Now, I can tweak this to my tastes.
What a great idea! Thank you, Holly! I love grilled fresh mackerel, but am daunted by the cooking smell. I am going to try your method for sure!
One method I have to eliminate the strong fishy odor when oven-grilling mackerel is to rub the flesh lightly with turmeric. The turmeric flavour is undetectable after cooking, and the colour is nice.
Thanks for sharing the tumeric idea. I will definitely try that next time.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I love mackerel and usually just lightly flour and pan fry it, but I can’t stand the smell and the splatter. This recipe solves both of those problems, and it tastes great with a heavy hand of salt and that touch of vinegar you suggest.
This was perfectly pan-fried and delicious! I tried all three tips for eliminating the fishy smell and they worked great. I’m sad I don’t have any left over for tomorrow’s lunch but I’ll be making this recipe again soon. Thanks Holly for another lip-smackingly delicious recipe.
So happy to hear it turned out well for you. Your comment makes me happy. Thank you.