Cooking up approachable, elegant seasonal dishes with Óscar Velasco

Having recently partnered with Montse Abellá to open the popular new VelascoAbellà in Madrid, the renowned Spanish chef is now focused on evolving its menu of welcoming yet refined dishes. Here, he shares his latest recipe for mackerel with apple jelly, cauliflower, and arugula salad


When Óscar Velasco partnered with Montse Abellá to open VelascoAbellà in June of 2023, the pair didn't have much left to prove to the public or themselves. The Spanish natives had already risen to the ranks of the country's top chefs; their previous restaurant, Santceloni, had earned two Michelin stars and three Repsol suns, and each chef had many individual awards to his name.


What they were looking for was the freedom to cook the dishes closest to their hearts: approachable, unfussy recipes showcasing the rich, vibrant flavours of Spain.




"At VelascoAbellà, we cook what we identify with, what we have always believed in, with that freedom that allows us to grow up and dream," says Velasco. "It is a cuisine that is unfashionable and prioritizes seasonal products in a very personal way—we have created a gastronomic proposal so that all our clients eat well and feel at home."


These days, Velasco is dreaming of new recipes that take advantage of the best seasonal produce in dishes that remind diners of home in the fondest ways. His latest emphasizes a fish caught in the waters off the shores of Spain for generations: mackerel with apple jelly, cauliflower, and arugula salad.


"Mackerel is the main ingredient in the recipe. It is a fish with an economical price, but great value in haute cuisine due to the texture of its meat and the high content of omega-3s," Velasco explains. "In this recipe, we marinate, smoke, and cook the mackerel at a low temperature with the delicacy that the product requires to enhance all its qualities."


Accompanying the fish are cauliflower preparations and an apple syrup that add acidic nuance that balance the fatty flavours of the fish and the silkiness of the vegetable. According to Velasco, the resulting dish represents everything he hopes to achieve at his new restaurant.




"I consider this mackerel recipe priceless because it reflects the identity of VelascoAbellà: simplicity, subtlety, elegance, and tasty at the same time," he says. "I hope all Mastercard cardholders prepare it at home, as this is the most successful dish in my restaurant these days."


Mackerel with Apple Jelly, Cauliflower, and Arugula Salad by Chef Óscar Velasco


Ingredients (4 people)


  • 2 mackerels
  • 300 gr. fine salt
  • 30 ml. virgin olive oil
  • 20 ml. Pedro Ximénez
  • 10 ml. orange juice
  • 6 ml. soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic (4 gr.)
  • 5 gr. chopped parsley
  • 8 pieces Royal Gala apple
  • 8 pieces Granny Smith apple
  • 125 gr. white cauliflower
  • 25. gr. purple cauliflower
  • 10 gr. yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • Spelette pepper
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Chopped chives
  • Arugula leaves




  1. Clean and fillet the mackerels. Cover them with salt and marinate for 10 minutes. Wash the loins in cold water and peel the mackerel, removing the transparent skin. Smoke them for 10 minutes with a smoker.
  2. Put the marinade ingredients (olive oil, Pedro Ximénez, orange juice, sauce, garlic, parsley) in a bowl and mix with a rod, letting everything rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the loins in a vacuum bag with three tablespoons of the marinade, creating a 70% vacuum to avoid crushing the mackerel. Cook them in a roner at 43º for 7 mins. Then, put them in ice water and let cool.
  4. Two hours later, open the bag, remove the bones with fish tongs, and portion the loins.
  5. Process the green and red apple pieces in a blender, then put the mixture in a saucepan over very low heat without exceeding 60º for 10 minutes to clarify. With a slotted spoon, remove impurities and put the mixture over gentle heat so it reduces to the density of a jelly.
  6. For the cauliflower purée, cook the chopped cauliflower and grind it in a Thermomix together with the yogurt, salt to taste, and pass the purée through a strainer until it has a fine texture.
  7. For the fried garlic powder, peel the garlic cloves and put them in the blender, cover with cold water, and blend. Heat the oil to 160º and fry the garlic until golden brown.
  8. Next, cut the outside of the two cauliflowers into small pieces and season with olive oil, salt, and a few drops of lemon juice.
  9. Place the seasoned cauliflower on a plate, sprinkle with a little fried garlic, and add Spelette pepper and chopped chives.
  10. Lightly flame the mackerels with a blowtorch on the skin side, then place them over the cauliflower. Around it put a few tears of the cauliflower purée.
  11. Spread the mackerel with the jelly and accompany it with the arugula seasoned with olive oil.