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August Recipe

Every calendar month until March 2021 we will publish a historical recipe that fits the season. We'll publish the original as well as the appetising reimagined version by our creative and skilled chefs. This month's recipe was reimagined by Brian Topping @the_tastebud_explodes. Brian is a talented self-taught home cook and Masterchef Ireland finalist which puts him in the right position to creatively have a go at our historical recipes and forgotten seafood cuisine.

The twelve recipes are the flagship of the Food Smart Dublin project and will be published as a booklet at the end of the project. This booklet will include narratives of the organism's ecology and its importance to the Irish people through time as well as its economic value, health benefits to us and where it can be found.

We identified sustainable seafood dishes for you that are easy enough to cook and can be locally sourced in order to be repeated at home with ordinary kitchen tools and basic cooking skills.

We created a google map of fishmongers and seafood shops in and around Dublin where you can get your seafood for your recipe. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you can't find your local or favourite seafood shop here or you're a fishmonger who would like to be added, please get in touch and we will update our map.
Enjoy your seafood experience!

August recipe: Mackerel

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Click for mackerel sustainability info

Click on the mackerel to find out about its ecology and history.

Tips for buying mackerel: If you can buy your mackerel gutted and with the head removed.
If you catch your own mackerel, be sure to gut and behead it as soon as you get the chance to do so. Mackerel spoils quickly! Any trace of blood in it would make it decompose even quicker as blood attracts bacteria. The reason for this is that mackerel is high in histidine which is converted to histamine when bacterial growth occurs during the lack of cold storage. This can lead to scombroid food poisoning or simply scombroid which is a foodborne illness that typically results from eating spoiled fish. Symptoms may include flushed skin, headache, itchiness, blurred vision, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. Onset of symptoms is typically 10 to 60 minutes after eating the spoiled seafood and can last for up to two days. Rarely, breathing problems or an irregular heartbeat may occur.
Other fish high in histidine include oily and fast swimming pelagic species such as tuna, herring, sardines, anchovy and marlin.

Panko Crumbed Mackerel with Rhubarb and Gooseberry Relish, Horseradish Cream

prep: 20mins; cook: 10mins; difficulty level: easy; serves 2 - starter

Ingredients for the Relish

  • 12 red or green gooseberries
  • 1 rhubarb stalk (cut in 1cm pieces)
  • 1 small red onion (slices)
  • 1 tbsp of finely diced fresh fennel
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tbps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar (more can be added at end if too tart)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar


Place olive oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and fennel and cook for a minute until softened but not coloured. Then add gooseberries, rhubarb, sugar and red wine vinegar and cook on low heat for 5 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper add a little more sugar if necessary to make it less tart.

Ingredients for the Mackerel

  • 1 good sized mackerel - filleted and pin boned (2 fillets - 1 per portion)
  • 50 g plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 50 g panko breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying


Put the flour, egg and panko in 3 separate shallow bowls.Put the mackerel in the flour coating all over and then shake off any excess.Drop the mackerel into the beaten egg and then the panko making sure the fish is well coated.
Heat frying pan over medium heat with ½ cm deep of vegetable oil. When pan is hot carefully place mackerel fillet in oil and cook for approx. 1 min until panko is browned and turn over and cook for 1 -2 mins on other side. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Horseradish Cream

Good quality Shop Bought is fine. (I used the Irish "the Brown Pig - Horseradish Cream")

To serve

Place the mackerel fillets in a plate with a generous spoonful of rhubard and gooseberry relish and a teaspoon of horseradish cream on the side. Garnish with micro herbs (optional). Enjoy!

We have now completed our archival work to identify historical, local seafood recipes of the Dublin coast communities. We searched through the archive of the National Library of Ireland on Kildare street in Dublin, and visited the National Folklore Collections at University College Dublin (UCD). To optimise our outcome we listened to sound archives from the Urban Folklore Project carried out by UCD in 1979-1980. Even though our archival work is officially completed now, we keep our ears and eyes open for any seafood recipes that may have been commonly used in Dublin up to the 1950s. If you have a seafood recipe from your Nana or parents or greatgreat grandparents, please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you!

At the end of our project, we will publish these recipes in the form of a Food Smart Dublin recipe book including the stories surrounding each seafood, the nutritional values as well as the organism's natural habitat and lifecycle.

Recent Recipes

Below you will find all the recipes we cooked. You can cook them anytime until they are out of season. Information on the seasons can be found in the sustainability section of each recipe or in our seasonality summary chart. Enjoy your sustainable seafood!

January - Pan-fried Hake

February - Niall's Fish Curry

March - Baked Scallops

April - Potted Crab

May - Cod Head Terrine.

June - Pan roasted megrim sole.

July - Samphire Chowder.

August - Mackerel with Rhubard and Gooseberry Relish

September - Oyster soup in bread cups

October - Pickled Cockles & Mussels

November - Prawn stew starter

December - Smoked Mackerel & Potato Salad