Sgombro ai capperi e limone

For the Story: Cefalù is Calling


  • 400 g/ 14 oz mackerel (sgombro)
  • 30 mL/ 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 30 mL/ 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 30 mL/ 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30 mL/ 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp drained rinsed capers
  • 1 mL/ 1/4 tsp salt for the dressing & *a little extra for boiled water (see #3 in “The Process”)

The Prep Work:  

How to clean mackerel (without scales). Grab some gloves, scissors and a fish filleting knife. If you purchased fillets, then skip this  section and go to “The Process”:

  1. Rinse the fish with cool tap water.
  2. Carefully cut the fins (use scissors or a knife).
  3. Place the mackerel on its side.
  4. Cut a line along the belly of the mackerel to expose its entrails.
  5. Use your fingers to remove the mackerel’s entrails and bloodline. Simply pull them out and discard.
  6. Rinse the fish again.
  7. Place mackerel on its side again. Insert the knife behind the fins closest to head and cut a line, separating the head from the body.
  8. Insert your knife again into the slit you’ve just made. With the knife laying flat against the fish, slide it down the entire length of the fish (from head to fin), applying pressure to the body, separating the meat from the bone.
  9. Remove the fillet.
  10. Repeat steps #7 and #8
  11. Remove the fillet.
  12. Throw away the head, the spine and the entrails.
  13. Remove the bones by slicing deep angled incisions on both sides of the bone trail, creating a V-shaped wedge.
  14. Remove the wedge, and with it will come the bones.

The Dressing: 

  1. In a small bowl, add oil, salt, lemon juice, minced garlic and parsley.
  2. Whisk until flavors are well-blended and let rest.

The Process:

  1. Wash fillets thoroughly.
  2. Lay them in a large shallow pan and add enough water to cover.
  3. *Add salt at a ratio of 28 g/1 oz. of salt to each 1 L/ 1 quart of water
  4. Gently bring to a boil, occasionally skimming the surface of the water.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until done.
  6. When mackerel is cooked to perfection, gently transfer it to a serving dish.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes.
  8. Pour on the dressing (as much as your heart desires)
  9. Dress plate with chopped parsley or full leaves and stems (as pictured).
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About Chef


For Founder and Food Blogger, Jo Ann Tartaglia, there is more to food than what we see on our plates. "It not only feeds the body, but nourishes the soul ...

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