Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

Smoked Mackerel Carbonara with Rocket

Serves 2

Seafood recipes that include parmesan have always been something we’re wary of at Gills. However, the smokey, salty taste of the mackerel makes a wonderful alternative to bacon. We suggest adding samphire and wild garlic to the dish to make the most of seasonal ingredients . If you want to use these add them after the onions have softened and the mackerel has begun to brown. However, it’s up to you what veg you want to include, you don’t have to go fancy just have a fridge forage.

Smoked mackerel carbonara offers a really delicious and interesting twist on the classic pork focused recipe. The smoked mackerel almost melts in this dish and mixes in beautifully with the creamy egg yolk and parmasan mix. Whilst we’re on that, remember carbonarra DOES NOT need cream. That soggy dish you’ve had in the past is not the real deal and is inferior to this rustic dish that packs a punch.

Mackerel Carbonara is tasty, quick and comforting – all the right elements for a great midweek dinner.


  • 200g spaghetti

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 40g parmesan (plus extra for serving)

  • 1 fillet of smoked mackerel (sustainably sourced)

  • Healthy handful of rocket

  • Half an onion

  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary

  • 2 wild garlic leaves (use 2 cloves of garlic if you can’t source this and add them to the pan at the same time as the onion)


  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions
    Meanwhile, chop your onion up into small pieces and then cut the mackerel into chunks around 2cm in size.

  2. Get your medium sized frying pan and add a glug of oil. Put onto a medium heat and add the onions and a little pepper. Meanwhile, chop the wild garlic and rosemary.

  3. After five minutes, or once the onions have begun to go translucent add the mackerel and rosemary. Cook for three minutes before adding the garlic leaves and cook for a further two minutes, until the mackerel has browned slightly and the wild garlic has wilted.

  4. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and parmesan – this will be your carbonara sauce. If you like yours a little wetter, you can add a splash of milk.
    Drain the pasta, reserving an espresso cup of water and add the pasta to the mackerel dish.

  5. Take the pan off the heat for a few seconds and add the cooled pasta water. This will bring down the temperature of the dish and stop your sauce from turning to scrambled eggs as it hits the pan

  6. Add the egg mixture and stir through the dish, coating the pasta with the silky mixture.

  7. Plate up and top with parmesan, a squeeze of lemon and a good twist of black pepper. We added little chilli flakes and lemon zest to brighten up the dish a little but this is optional.

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Smoked mackerel carbonara
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