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.