Pic of Devilled mackerel with roasted tomatoes and fennel

Devilled mackerel with roasted tomatoes and fennel

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Devilled mackerel with roasted tomatoes and fennel

Main Serves 2 40 min
To devil something is a very English way of saying 'add spice and heat'. A devilling sauce is a hot, sweet, sharp and savoury preparation, an echo of the British Raj. Cayenne pepper adds heat but it can vary hugely from batch to batch. Add it sparingly to the sauce at the start, taste, and add more to your comfort level. The sauce ideally wants a good kick to it; if the end product doesn't make your nose sweat, then you're not doing it right!


  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • oil for roasting e.g. light olive
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • cayenne pepper, add to taste
  • 4 small or 2 large mackerel
  • ¼ of a preserved lemon
  • 1 lemon
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
Image of Devilled mackerel with roasted tomatoes and fennel


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
  • Step 2

    Toss the fennel and tomatoes in a roasting tray with 3 tablespoons of oil. Season. Turn them well to coat in the oil. Roast on a low oven shelf for 15 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, make the devilling sauce. In a bowl, mix the sugar, paprika, mustard, Worcester sauce and vinegar. Add a pinch of cayenne, taste, and add more to your liking (see cook's note). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 4

    Make 3 diagonal slashes on both sides of each fish. Place them in another roasting tray and rub each fish with a little oil. Season well with salt and pepper, inside and out. Spoon the devilling sauce across the fish, making sure a little makes it into the cavity of each fish.
  • Step 5

    Scrape the flesh out of the preserved lemon; discard the flesh, keeping just the rind. Finely chop it.
  • Step 6

    After 15 minutes of cooking, remove the fennel and tomatoes from the oven. Toss them with the preserved lemon. Put them back in the oven. Put the mackerel tray on the top shelf of the oven. Roast both trays for 12 minutes, until the flesh on the mackerel pulls easily away from the bone, and the fennel and tomatoes are softened.
  • Step 7

    When the fish are ready, remove them from the oven and finish with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Scatter the parsley over the tomatoes and fennel.

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