Family Recipes: My Mom’s Creamed Mackerel with Vegetables

Fishy Vegetables

This dish was one of my favorite when I was a teen. I remember making it pretty often during my first years in the U.S. when all of us were homesick. We lived in Sunnyvale, CA without a car for more than a year with the closest grocery store was Asian on Duane Ave, so getting good whole mackerel was not a problem. I forgot about this dish for years until now.

Not sure how widespread it was in the Soviet era and what variations existed out there. We discussed it in LCL Group on Facebook and, apparently, the recipe with tomatoes was more popular. In other regions, pink salmon (aka Gorbusha) was more available than mackerel and was cooked similarly. The recipe below is how my Mom made it. I loved eating creamed mackerel with vegetables as a cold appetizer after school. My favorite part of this dish was the vegetables — naturally sweet, slightly flavored with sea salt and umami, and rounded with silky cream. They had to be soft and barely crunchy.

Making mom's creamed mackerel
Making mom’s creamed mackerel

Fish Bones

Everybody knows everything tastes better when cooked with bones. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of or feel uncomfortable eating food with bones for many reasons. They have an option to use mackerel fillet. If mackerel is way too flavorful for you or not easily available, substitute it with a salmon fillet.

My Mom's Creamed Mackerel with Vegetables
My Mom’s Creamed Mackerel with Vegetables

Family Recipes: My Mom's Creamed Mackerel with Vegetables

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: European
Keyword: Creamed Mackerel, fish
Servings: 4 portions


  • 1 each carrot large
  • 1 each onion large, or leek, white part
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 each mackerel whole or fillets
  • 1-2 each bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tsp salt adjust to your taste
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, finely chopped (to garnish, optional)


  • Prepare ingredients.
    My Mom's Creamed Mackerel with Vegetables: Ingredients
  • Peel carrots and cut carrots to matchsticks.
    Carrot sticks
  • Peel and sliver onions.
    Slivered onions
  • Wash, clean, and slice scallions.
    Diced green onions/scallions
  • Prepare mackerel. Clean and cut it to portions.
    Cleaning whole mackerel
  • Cut to portions whole mackerel
  • Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
    Melting butter
  • Saute carrots in melted butter for 1-2 minutes. Add onions.
    Sautéing carrots and onions
  • Add 2 cups of cold water and season. Arrange slices of mackerel fillet on top of (or mackerel steaks dipped into) the vegetable layer. Lower the heat to min. Cover with a lid and slowly cook for 15 minutes.
    Making mom's mackerel
  • Turn off the heat, add cream, garnish with scallions and parsley (if using) and keep covered until cooled down to the room temperature.
    Making mom's mackerel
  • Serve warm or cold with sliced crusty bread. Enjoy!