Mackerel has a rich, pronounced flavor. The meat is soft, flaky and moist. The outer bands of dark, strong-tasting meat along the midline may be cut out for a milder flavor. The raw fish looks grayish and oily but firms up and becomes off-white to beige when cooked. The skin of fresh fish should have a nice sheen, and the eyes should be bright and concave. Small scales cover the entire body and give the skin a velvety texture. The mackerel’s distinctive coloring quickly begins to fade after the fish dies.