Mackerel Sandwich Recipe (Turkish balık ekmek)

The balık (fish) ekmek (bread) is a popular street food snack from Turkey. It consists of a fried or grilled mackerel fillet and assorted vegetables stuffed in a baguette. Very simple street food item, nothing fanciful. You can easily find this Turkish mackerel sandwich near the Galata Bridge (along the waterfront of Karaköy and Eminönü) for about 6-8 lira (SGD2.40-4.00).

I was inspired to recreate this Turkish delight at home after catching a travel programme on TV some time back. Instead of using baguette, I thought I would use the Gardenia brand of Mediterranean Panini that I came across in the supermarket. Could not be more apt, haha.

I chose to grill the mackerel fillets in the oven as I didn’t want my house to stink up. Alternatively, you can pan-fry them if you like.

Mackerel Sandwich Recipe

The mackerel was salty, oily (omega-3 fatty acids!) and juicy. Thought it went really well in a sandwich.

If you find your usual sandwiches getting a little boring now, try making a mackerel sandwich like this. ?

Mackerel Sandwich Recipe
  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • sea salt
  • lettuce leaves
  • tomato slices
  • pickled carrots (see ingredients below)
  • coriander leaves
  • reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 pcs Gardenia Mediterranean Panini bread, halved
For pickled carrots: (combine all ingredients in a jar the day before, shake well and chill in the fridge)
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup white rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 200 deg C on grill mode with fan. Line grill pan with parchment paper.
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the mackerel fillets.
Transfer the fillets (skin side down) onto the grill rack and insert into the highest shelf of the oven.
Grill the fillets for 10 minutes. Flip over and continue grilling for another 5 minutes till golden brown.
To assemble the sandwich, spread mayonnaise on each half of the bread.
Arrange the lettuce, tomato and carrots on the bottom half of the bread in layers.
Top with the mackerel fillet followed by the coriander leaves.
Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Squeeze the lemon over the fillet and enjoy.

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