Summer Recipe Feature

23 April 2015

Gary Foakes Executive Chef at Regent's Conferences & Events shares his recipe for Fresh Mackerel with a Walnut Pesto. Alternatively you can use Pilchards or fresh Herrings. Serves four.

Fresh Mackerel with a Walnut Pesto.


Walnut Pesto

  • 90g (3oz) Whole Shelled Walnuts
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 TBS of Fine Capers
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Large Handful of Basil Leaves
  • A large Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 150mls (¼ pint) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • The juice and Zest of one large unwaxed Lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper


  • 4 Whole Mackerel. Cleaned
  • Sprigs of Thyme
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt


Preheat the oven 190c ( 375f gas mark 5) Place the walnuts on a baking tray, and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes do not brown or burn.

Remove and place in a clean dry tea towel, rub in the towel to remove the skins. When ready place in a bowl. 

In a food processor, add the garlic, capers, shallots, basil and parsley.

Process for about 20 seconds on high. The ingredients should be roughly chopped. Then slowly add the olive oil. Add the walnuts and process for about 5 seconds.

Remove the mixture to a bowl, stir in the zest and juice of the lemon and mustard, stir and season well.

Pre heat the grill; line a grill pan with foil.  Wash and dry the fish, Place sprigs of thyme in the cavity and season well. With a Sharpe knife make three slashes on the thickest parts each side of the fish.

Brush the fishes with olive oil, season with sea salt. When the grill is hot, place the fish on the pan and grill for 5-6 minutes on each side.

 The skin will start to bubble and look golden. Remove and place on warm plates serve with the walnut pesto and a fennel salad.

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