A member of the jack family and not actually a mackerel , the sleek, silvery horse mackerel has a rich, flavorful flesh that is delicious broiled or as sashimi. Available year round, horse mackerel are most flavorful from spring to autumn.
Called “aji” in Japan, horse mackerel is actually not in the same family as true mackerels — and the term “horse mackerel” isn’t one type of fish, but instead refers to a handful of similar jack fish species. This fish is sleek and silvery on the outside, while the flesh is rich, oily, and flavorful.
In Japan, there are two general sub-types of horse mackerel: those that live primarily in shallower bays and inlets, and others that spend most of their time further out in the ocean. The first kind are lighter, have yellow-y skin, and are fattier in taste. The latter are darker in appearance, less fatty, and have more muscle.
Horse mackerel are available year-round but are most flavorful from spring to autumn. And if you’re eating it as sashimi, it’s best early- to mid-summer. But there are lots of other ways to make horse mackerel incredibly tasty. It can be broiled, grilled, deep-fried, or prepared in other ways. And along with being delicious, horse mackerel is a good source of omega-3s, niacin, and vitamins A and D.
Along with other fish and shellfish, you can find horse mackerel in our extensive seafood departments.