Grilled Mackerel wrapped in Grapevine with Raki Sauce

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Mackerel wrapped in Grapevine with Raki Sauce

Mediterranean cuisine has many fish recipes but using grapevine leaves to wrap the delicate meat creates one of the most simple and scrumptious dishes. Just like baking a fish in salt or en papillote, this method keeps all the juices of the fish and creates a natural barrier between the grill fire and the meat. Plus, it adds a fantastic aroma of smoked vine leaves to the tender fish.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x



For the Mackerel:

  • 1 Mackerel (Filleted)
  • 15 Vine Leaves
  • 1 Lemon

For the Raki Sauce: 

  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp Rakıc(or Ouzo)
  • 4 tbsp Heavy Cream
  • Dill (few sprigs)

For the Garnish: 

  • 2 Tomatoes (peeled and deseeded)
  • 5 Black Kalamata Olives
  • 2 Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp Oil


Making the Mackerel wrapped in Grapevine

  • The first step is to blanch the vine leaves in salt water to soften them. Once blanched, thoroughly dry the leaves and arrange them on a flat surface like it is a piece of paper.
  • Put the mackerel filet in the center, add some olive oil, half the lemon zest, and seasoning. Wrap it tight so that there are no spaces for the delicious juices to escape.
  • Place the fish on a grill or a cast iron pan when it is really hot. You don’t have to add oil to the pan. The rubbed olive oil in the vines will suffice. 
  • Cook the fish for 3-4 mins on each side depending on the thickness of your fillet. 

Making the Raki Sauce 

  • For the sauce, finely chop the fennel and cook it slowly in a pan with olive oil. Continue cooking until the fennel is soft but there is no color on them.
  • Add the Rakı/Ouzo to the pan to deglaze. Ensure that all of the alcohol has evaporated. Pour in the cream, and keep mixing it thoroughly without boiling it.
  • Once the cream has thickened, remove it from the heat. Add the dill and the sauce is ready!

Making the Garnish 

  • Cube the tomatoes and mix them with walnuts, olives, and oil.
  • Season with some salt and lemon juice.

To Serve:

  • Place a dollop of the Raki Sauce on the bottom and spread it out. 
  • Cut the Mackerel wrapped in grapevine through the middle and place it on top of the sauce.
  • Finish with the garnish and serve hot! 


  • Author: Emrecan Ilarslan
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Grilling
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