The Light And Flavorful Vegetable You Should Be Pairing With Mackerel

The flavor of mackerel can best be described as strong. Far from the likes of delicate white fish like cod, mackerel has much darker meat owing to the high presence of fat that brings flavor to the fish. Because of this, one of the best ways to prepare mackerel is on its own with a little salt and oil — and there is no better vegetable to pair it with than zucchini. 

Though there are numerous ways you could put your zucchini to good use, such as making chips or zoodles, but plating it alongside mackerel has to be one of the best. The zucchini is light, subtle, and adaptable, allowing it to balance the oily and fatty mackerel. The high water content of the zucchini squash means that it is going to bring an element of freshness to the dish, thereby balancing out the oiliness of the fish and bringing an overall lightness to the meal. 

The fish and vegetable pairing can lead to any number of creative dishes, some of which have cultural roots, while others can just be a creative mash-up of what you have available in your kitchen. Regardless of how you make it, mackerel and zucchini are sure to be not only delicious but nutritious as well. 

Zucchini brings balance and light flavor to the heavier mackerel

Mackerel is a nutritious powerhouse high in omega-3 fatty acids and has vitamins B6 and B12 and far lower mercury levels than those found in other fish, per NOAA Fisheries. Add to that the antioxidants, fiber, and blood sugar-managing capabilities of the zucchini, and you have yourself one meal packed with benefits (via WebMD). 

It is best to keep things simple with this combination. A great way to prepare the mackerel is to have it filleted and seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon, and parsley. The fish should be grilled skin-side down in order to get a nice, crispy sear. Thanks to its thickness, mackerel is one of those fish that lends itself well to grilling without falling apart. The zucchini is sliced thin, seasoned, and grilled alongside the fish, giving you a perfect course for the summer weather.

If you'd like to get a little more creative, you could pair baked mackerel with a classic Bulgarian dish of zucchini and yogurt. The dairy, along with garlic and dill, add a hint of acidity and brightness while also giving the zucchini more body to stand against the fish. For a lighter, creamier mackerel, consider using a milk marinade that can also help neutralize any trace of fishiness or strong smells. It is hard to go wrong with these two ingredients, and anything you come up with is more than likely going to be flavorful and memorable.