The Better Big Mac(kerel): A Tinned Mackerel Recipe for the Ages

Canned mackerel fillets made into patties for a sandwich - Donostia Foods


A better Big Mac(kerel). That’s right. Tins of mackerel turned into sweet paprika-spiced patties, with a saffron-Dijon special sauce, for a burger that'll make everyone swoon. Sure, the drive-thru beef option has its place, but with mere minutes of preparation you can do so much better. Picture yourself on a warm summer's afternoon in a backyard patio full of lush greenery, sitting at a table surrounded by friends, a crisp and cold pint in hand, and this beauty of a burger before you. Make the dream reality.    

The Better Big Mac(kerel)

Total Time: 15-20 minutes, or thereabouts.

Servings: 4 burger sandwiches.


for the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • pinch of saffron, broken up
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the patties

for the rest

  • scallions on top of the patty
  • radish slices
  • potato bun


1. Mix up all the ingredients for the dressing in a nice little bowl. Whisking is probably the way to go about this.

2. In a much larger bowl, empty the tins of mackerel fillets, crack the couple of eggs, add paprika, sea salt, garlic, and scallions.

3. Go to town mashing and mixing and shaping the combination into patties of appropriate size. Above, you'll see patties shaped just so for the buns procured. Maybe you'd like to go vertical with the double-decker style. Or perhaps you're more a fan of the oversized patty, boldly stretching beyond the edges of the bun. The choice is yours. 

4. Over medium heat, cook patties about three minutes on each side.

5. Top with more scallions, radish slices for a pleasing crunch, and the saffron-Dijon sauce.

6. Eat in silence, not because of any underlying resentment toward those you're sharing a meal with, but because you are all relishing the joyous melody of complementary of flavors inherent in each bite. Nod approvingly at each other, and smile.

Inspired by this video from Gordon Ramsay.


For additional recipes and serving suggestions for Spanish conservas, please see our aptly named Recipes & Serving Suggestions page.