Mackerel's flesh is soft and flaky while some are richer and oilier than others. One or two species of mackerel can be quite firm and white. However, there's usually a consistent approach to cooking them. Use: Can be grilled, fried, barbecued or poached. It also suits being pickled, marinated, peppered, salted and smoked. Whole smoked mackerel is delicious when skinned and eaten with lemon juice, freshy ground black pepper and brown bread and butter. They also make of the tastiest pâtês. They're best eaten when fresh, but are also canned and sold as middlecut.