Smoked Mackerel Gratin

This is a recipe from Nigel Slater, who is one of our greatest food writers. He understands about simplicity. It’s taken from his book Real Food and the only difference here is that I put in quite a lot more potatoes than he does. He likes his food very rich…

We often have this when there are just two of us and we have it two days running. It’s just as good heated up the next day. So we might have it with a green salad on day one and a beetroot or tomato salad on day two. It works really, really well with a beetroot and lemon salad. You certainly want some sharpness or bitterness (rocket, watercress, lemon, tomato etc) to cut through the richness of the cream and mackerel.

About the ingredients:

If you’re feeling flush you can get a lovely whole smoked mackerel from the fishmongers (in which case you might use some of it to make a mackerel paté as well) but you can also buy smoked mackerel in little packets in supermarkets (Lidl, of course, is great) and it’s really not expensive. Mackerel is incredibly good for you, is local to British waters and highly sustainable. And it’s delicious.

Serves 4


  • About 600g potatoes
  • About 150g smoked mackerel
  • 300ml double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • A couple of tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  • A mandoline for slicing potatoes (makes it a lot quicker)
  • An ovenproof dish approximately 24cm in diameter

Preheat the oven to 190º.

Sliced potatoes

Wash but don’t peel the potatoes. Slice them quite thinly (about 2-3mm). Take the skin off the mackerel and break the flesh up into bits – not too small.

Assembling gratin

Layer the potatoes and mackerel in the dish with the bay leaves in between. Be sure to have plenty of potatoes on top.

Gratin ready for oven

Mix together the cream and milk, stir in the mustard and some salt and pepper, and pour over the potatoes.

Gratin cooked

Cook at about 190º – for about 45 minutes to an hour.   I tend to cook it covered for about 20 minutes and then take the lid off.  Lush.

Gratin on a plate

Share This: