Eating on a Budget: Forget Tuna Salad

Two words: mackerel salad.

If you are like me - and I'm beginning to realize that no, not many people are - you'll find yourself wandering the aisles of a bodega or corner market late at night after a few drinks and before you know it you will be waking up the next morning wondering what it is you thought you were going to make with canned olives, string cheese and sardines.

By the way: I love sardines.

But when I bought a can of mackerel in water the other night, I wasn't surprised the next day, and I did know exactly what I had in mind: mackerel salad.

Mackerels are sold whole in a 12 oz. can, avec skin and bones but sans head, tail and guts. Don't worry about the skin or the bones; the skin - that's flavor! And the bones are so stewed and brittle that they crumble easily, making them hardly noticeable in the final product.

Mackerel Salad:
  • 1 12 ounce can of mackerels in water, drained (reserve the water for...I'm not sure, be creative)
  • 1 heart of a small stalk of celery, chopped. Leaves and all. Just the heart.
  • 1/2 small red onion, small dice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard (guess which one I like)
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (we at Chowbacca! swear by Best Food's Real Mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Optional: dry or fresh dill, chopped
Mix in a large bowl, using your fork to crush the mackerel. Transfer to a air-tight, lidded container for the fridge. This is funky stuff and you don't want for all of your food to smell like mackerel and onion.

I find that it's best having rested overnight, letting everything meld together a little.

I like mine on a California-style sandwich: toasted, buttered dinner roll; mackerel salad; and avocado.



  1. Actually at our house we prefer Trader Joe's Real Mayo. No idea who actually makes it. Perhaps I'lll try to pierce the veil of Trader Joe's sourcing.

  2. I'll have to try it. Of course the extremely chic version of this would be to oil-poach tilapia or some similar farmed or cultivated freshwater fish (ooh! rainbow trout would be perfect), make your own mayo, etc.

    Until Chowbacca! goes on a fishing trip, this will remain a flight of fancy.

    PS, for those who are concerned about the impact of Mackerel, which is a carnivorous fish and therefore subject to accumulation of PCBs, the sardine would be a good second choice - but I would remove the spines (kinda a PITA).

  3. Fishing trip , eh? I might have to think about that one.

    Folks may also be concerned with PBA from the can. There are PBA Free cans on the market, but few companies use them. I haven't heard of anyone canning fish in such a can. Canning at home would be an option.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts