Delicious & Easy

Tepary Beans with Pan-Fried Pacific Mackerel

Pacific mackerel is a sustainable and nutritious seafood choice—it’s also an underutilized common bycatch of commercial fishermen. Serve alongside summery tepary beans and enjoy this flavorful fish that is high in protein and omega-3s.

Tepary Beans with Pan-Fired Pacific Mackerel originally published with Adapting Beans by Mike Reeske in the summer 2023 issue.

Cover image by Lauren di Matteo.

Ingredients for

Tepary Beans with Pan-Fried Pacific Mackerel


2 cups dry white tepary beans

2 bay leaves

2 garlic cloves

1⁄4 Spanish onion

1 dried guajillo chile

1⁄2 tablespoon salt, or more to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, diced


4 mackerel fillets, skin on and bones removed

Salt and black pepper to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil or grape-seed oil

8 sprigs pea tendrils or cilantro to garnish

1 lemon, quartered, to serve


Instructions for

Tepary Beans with Pan-Fried Pacific Mackerel

Prepare the beans:

Place the beans in a large bowl. Add cool water to bowl to cover beans by 6 inches and let soak overnight at room temperature. Drain beans, discard the liquid, and transfer to a large pot with a lid. Add enough cool water to cover the beans along with the bay leaves, garlic cloves, onion, and guajillo chile by about 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat; cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 11⁄2 to 2 hours. Remove beans from heat, discard bay leaves and guajillo chile, and add salt to taste. Let beans rest for 20 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid, the cooked onion, and garlic cloves, and then drain the beans.

In a blender add 1 cup of cooked beans with the onion and garlic, and blend with enough bean liquid to make a smooth bean purée; set aside.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add cooked beans and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Divide the bean purée between four plates and top with bell pepper beans.

Make the Pacific mackerel:

Season the mackerel fillets with salt and pepper.

Heat a glug of olive or grape-seed oil in a nonstick frying pan over high heat.

Once the pan is smoking hot, add the mackerel fillets, skin-side down. Turn the heat down to medium-high. As the fillets curl up away from the heat, use a rubber spatula to gently apply pressure to the fillet so that the fish is flat and all of the skin comes into contact with the pan to ensure even cooking.

Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Once the skin is crisp and golden, turn the fillet over and remove the pan from the heat. Leave the mackerel in the pan to cook through in the residual heat, then serve up immediately over beans. Garnish with pea tendrils or cilantro and lemon wedges.

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