Cured Mackerel

alarm About 50 hours 130-160 min for preparation and defrosting/48 hrs for freezing
Mackerel becomes more delicious in the fall and winter as it grows fatty. We asked Negishi from Negio Sushi for a recipe that brings out this bluefish's unique aroma and umami.


  • Whole chub mackerel
  • Coarse salt
  • Rock salt
  • Vinegar (grain or rice)
    200 ml


  1. First, take a plastic container that can fit a mackerel and fill it with vinegar. Chill this in the refrigerator; otherwise, the vinegar can cause the mackerel skin to melt or become too tight.
  2. Prepare the mackerel. Remove the head, open up the belly, and remove the guts.
  3. Rinse the mackerel inside and out in running water. Be careful not to leave any entrails, as they can make the fish bitter and breed bacteria.
  4. Dry the mackerel with a kitchen towel and then cut it into two fillets along with the center cut containing the skeleton.
  5. Combine coarse salt and rock salt and apply thoroughly to both sides of the mackerel so that it turns white. Note that when placing the mackerel on the board, it’s important to place its skin side up to avoid breaking the flesh, which tends to be delicate. Cure the mackerel for 15 to 30 minutes. The fresher the fish, the shorter the time; the fattier the fish, the longer. *The curing time of each mackerel is unique, so we need to sharpen our senses.
  6. When the time is up, rinse the salt under running water, wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap, lay them out, and freeze them. Freezing inhibits parasites. In a home freezer, it is safe to freeze for 48 hours. *If you are short on time, you can refrigerate them for 15 minutes instead of freezing, but use your judgment at your own risk.
  7. Remove the plastic wrap, lay out kitchen paper, cover with plastic wrap, and defrost slowly in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  8. Next, pickle in vinegar. Pickling takes 15 to 30 minutes. The time required is the same as when curing: the fresher the fish, the shorter the time, and the fattier the fish, the longer. *You can enhance the flavor by adding a small amount of your favorite vinegar during this step. *If you cannot fit the mackerel in the vinegar, cover it with kitchen paper. It will be fine if you tilt the plastic container to wet the paper.
  9. After marinating in vinegar, remove the mackerel and place them on a tray. *The flesh is too soft after pickling, so refrigerate the fish for 20 minutes to allow the meat to settle.
  10. Skin the cured mackerel. You should gently hold down the skin at the head side while peeling it off to avoid damaging the flesh.
  11. Debone thoroughly.
  12. Slice the mackerel to serve. Slicing from the tail makes it a sushi topping, while from the head with skin on top makes it sashimi.

Recipe from : Negio-zushi Kazuya Negishi