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Smoked Mackerel Salad with Apple and Bacon

Smoked mackerel salad, a quick and easy light main course salad featuring sweet and salty bacon offset by the sweet tartness of apple.

The salad dressing features reduced apple juice and ginger which provides a bright and zingy complement to the salty mackerel.

Smoked mackerel salad with apple, bacon and croutons.

Warm Mackerel Salad

I adore mackerel, it is one of those ingredients that I return to over and over again. It is one of the cheapest fishes that you can buy, it is nutritious and tastes divine.

My 13 years living in landlocked Hungary starved me of fresh mackerel but gave me a love of smoked mackerel. You should definitely check out my devilled mackerel fillets though!

It is commonly associated with smoked mackerel pate but it has way more uses than just that!

It is just as good in an Anglo Indian smoked mackerel kedgeree as it is in a simple smoked mackerel pasta. If you are still on the fence then you must try my really rather foxy smoked mackerel risotto or this smoked mackerel potato frittata!

This Smoked Mackerel Salad with Apple and Bacon is nothing more than a few good things that really work well together.

Apple and mackerel is a classic combination and bacon makes everything better. The ginger in the dressing helps cut through the richness of the smoked mackerel.

Finally, reducing the apple juice to a syrup for the dressing elevates the whole dish. As with so many recipes, it is the little dishes that really push them over the top!

If these flavours are your mojo, then you must check out my sausage salad which has a similar flavour profile! And if you like the idea of fish in a salad check out my cod salad recipe.

Overhead smoked mackerel salad with apple, bacon and croutons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use peppered mackerel?

Yes, it will work well in this dish, although I personally prefer a cleaner flavour in this salad.

What salad leaves work well?

This salad is pictured with lambs lettuce, but peppery leaves also work well. Rocket or arugula and watercress are both fantastic in this recipe.

What is streaky bacon?

This is a question I am often asked by my American readers. Streaky bacon is what you guys refer to as bacon, here in the UK bacon typically means back bacon or Canadian bacon as you call it.

Should I use smoked bacon?

You can, although I personally prefer non-smoked bacon in this recipe.

What is rapeseed oil?

Another question often asked by US readers, it is known as canola oil in the US. I like it in this dish because it has a very mild flavour, olive oil overpowers in this recipe as far as I am concerned.

Close up smoked mackerel salad with apple, bacon and croutons.

Serving Suggestions

This smoked mackerel salad is the perfect light meal for me and it needs little else.

However, if you wanted to make a more substantial meal adding eggs is a nice way of bulking out this dish.

A poached egg is my favourite addition, however, you do need to ensure that your egg is fresh. Crack the egg onto a plate and if the egg white is watery it will not make a good poached egg!

But fear not, if that happens you can make a fried egg which will also work really well. Either way, keep that yolk nice and runny to add an extra silky sauce!

One final suggestion would be to add some cooked cold rice, either black rice or wild rice make an excellent addition to this salad.

Smoked mackerel salad with apple, bacon, shallots and croutons.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I believe they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Grill or broiler.
  • Baking tray.
  • Frying pan.
  • Small (15cm or 6″) saucepan.
  • Grater.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Smoked mackerel salad with apple, bacon, shallots and croutons.
Yield: 2 Servings

Smoked Mackerel Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Classic combinations are at the heart of this smoked mackerel salad, featuring bacon and apple wrapped up in a fruity vinaigrette.


  • 300g (4 Fillets) Smoked Mackerel Fillet
  • 100g (5-6 Rashers) Streaky Bacon
  • 40g (1-2 Slices) Bread
  • 1 (35g) Shallot
  • 25g (Thumbsized Piece) Ginger
  • 150ml (½ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Apple Juice
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Rapeseed Oil aka Canola Oil
  • 1 Handful Salad Leaves (I use Lambs Lettuce)
  • 1 Apple


  1. Cut the bacon into batons.
  2. Dice the bread into 1cm cubes.
  3. Finely slice the shallot into rings.
  4. Peel and grate the ginger.
  5. Peel and core the apple, then slice it into wedges.
  6. Take 50ml of the apple juice and add half of the grated ginger, then pour this over the apple and set aside.
  7. In a small pan add the remaining 100ml of apple juice and remaining ginger and boil over a medium-high heat until reduced to 25ml (2 Tablespoons).
  8. Take the reduced apple and ginger syrup and pass it through a sieve to remove the ginger. Whisk the syrup with the rapeseed oil, add salt to season to taste and the shallot rings and set aside, this will be the dressing.
  9. Fry off the bacon and croutons until crispy and golden, this will take 5-7 minutes.
  10. Place the mackerel fillets under a hot grill or broiler and heat just a little, you don't want to cook it but soften the fats in the mackerel. Then break up the smoked mackerel into a bowl discarding the skin.
  11. Place everything else in the bowl except the salad leaves, pour over the dressing and toss to coat. Then add the salad leaves and toss once more before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1176Total Fat: 83gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 59gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1106mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 21gProtein: 67g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Thursday 29th of April 2021

This is an amazing salad! With a rich taste of sweetness, sharp, salty, fresh! When I say that I will make this salad, my family is not happy with this information. But when it is on the table, it instantly disappears! I've done this 10 times already! It's in my salad book. Thank you for the recipe!

Brian Jones

Sunday 9th of May 2021

You are more than welcome Alexandr, so glad you enjoy it, I adore smoked mackerel.


Monday 15th of July 2019

This is totally delicious, no changes just perfect as is. Served it with fries. A real winner!

Brian Jones

Tuesday 16th of July 2019

Thanks Ann, so glad you enjoyed it :)

Lisa | Tiny Kitchen Capers

Tuesday 27th of February 2018

This salad looks so delicious! Not sure if I can find smoked mackerel here in the Midwest, U.S. but i'm certainly going to look for it. I might get lucky!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 28th of February 2018

Goo luck with your hunt Lisa, it also works well with other smoked fish.

Elaine Benoit

Tuesday 27th of February 2018

I love a good salad. I too dodged them for years because I ate too many of them as I was a vegetarian. But, since I no longer had to eat salads, I enjoy them again. Funny how that happens. I adore mackerel but I've never put it on my salad. But I will now! I can't wait to make your delightful salad! Gorgeous photos, as usual, Brian!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 28th of February 2018

Thanks Elaine... It does seem that it is very easy to fall out of love with tasty stuff when you have to eat it all of the time.

Corina Blum

Tuesday 27th of February 2018

I think mackerel is a great fish but we are split in our household. 2 mackerel lovers and 2 mackerel avoiders so I don't eat it as often as I'd like. I think this salad sounds delicious and it's a great way to serve the mackerel.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 28th of February 2018

Oooo throw out those haters, there is no time for that kind of negativity ;)

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