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Lemon Saffron King Mackerel

With the Fall King of the Beach Kingfish Tournament on the horizon this seemed like as good a time as any to roll out a King Mackerel family favorite. This is a fairly delicate treatment of the Mackerel accenting the distinct flavor of the flesh in a way that doesn’t get in the way. We like our Kings pretty straight forward around here.


1.5 – 2lbs King Mackerel fillets
4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Pinch of saffron Threads
Zest From 1 Lemon
Pinch of white Pepper
Couple of Pinches of Salt

 Let’s get the show on the road: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When up to heat, place an iron skillet on the middle racks. Now, let’s go make some magic…..

Lemon Saffron Kingfish

Get your Lemon Saffron Butter ingredients together. I use unsalted butter, preferring to add just enough salt later in the prep.

meltaed butter saffron & lemon zest

Melt your butter then add the saffron threads along with 1/2 of the lemon zest. The mixture needs to stay warm and meld together for at least 15 minutes.


Get your Kingfish prepped and ready to go. For some cooks this involves a bit of rigmarole. Not in my kitchen. There is only one rule: Use fresh, never thawed from frozen, King Mackerel. Rinse it. Dry it. Slather it. Get it in the pan. You either like Kings or you don’t. Got these beauts from buddy Tom Swick of FishBrain. Here’s a short video of the catch itself.

King Mackerel ready for the oven

Strain the saffron threads and lemon zest from the butter. Coat the fish with 1/2 of the saffron/lemon zest infused butter, sprinkle in the rest of the lemon zest, yuor white pepper and salt. Place fish, skin side down in the already hot skillet and return to oven. Cook 10 minutes.

King Mackerel Recipe

After the King has cooked 10 minutes coat with the remainder of the infused butter, returning to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Saffron Lemon Zest Kingfish

The final product. Buttery, lemony and a nice hint of saffron to round it all out. You can also hit the broiler for the last couple of minutes to finish things off… just be mindful not to over cook.

Bon Appetit and Tight Lines!

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