Sun dried fish (gouna)

Sun dried fish (gouna). A delicious dish that could perfectly accompany your ouzo under a sunny day near the sea. Don’t you think?

Last Saturday once again I have visited my lovely local food market named Kapani. I have bought some super fresh and juicy crayfish (with which I have made my favorite pasta recipe that you can find here) and a mackerel. 

As it concerns the crayfish, I knew what I had to do. But I had no idea on how I will cook the mackerel. And here comes Nikos, my beloved fishmonger. 

– Nikos, tell me, what else should I buy?

– I have this beautiful mackerel, what do you think?

– A mackerel eh? And what about its cooking? 

– There is only one option: sun dried!

What is a sun dried fish?

A sun dried fish, well know as gouna. The fish is opened like butterfly and dried in the sun with herbs until loosing its humidity. Then it is grilled. You won’t taste anything better.

Most recipes I found were talking about sun drying the fish from 1 to 3 days and then grilling. The prolonged exposure in the sun gives the flesh of the fish an incomparable taste and a unique texture.

So, after sprinkling the fish with thick salt and oregano, I have put it on a cooling baking rack. Then covered it with some tulle (in order to avoid insects) and my fish was ready for sunbathing on my balcony.

In the afternoon and after 6 hours, I have transferred my fish in a shady and airy place in order to drain all night. The fish must not be totally dried, it must be juicy. So if the fish is not thick enough reduce the hours.

sun dried fish
sun dried fish

Sun dried fish (gouna)


  • 1 mackerel, around 400-500 gr (you can use bonito fish too)
  • 1 tbsp thick sea salt
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • lemon
  • finely chopped parsley


  1. Wash the fish and open it in half, cutting it lengthwise without separating it into two. Remove spine column. Wash it well again and dry it with a cleaning towel. 

  2. Sprinkle generously with salt and oregano. Place the fish in the sun for at least 6 hours.

  3. Remove from the sun and place the fish in a shady and airy place in order to drain all night. The fish must not be totally dried, it must be juicy.

  4. Sprinkle on the fish some olive oil (1-2 tsp) and grill it for 3-4 minutes on the grill mode of your oven. If you are lucky enough and have an actuall grill then you need 1 minute and your fish is ready (the skin of the fish must be on the bottom).

  5. Serve with chopped parsley and some oil and lemon sauce (or just drizzle  with lemon juice and olive oil on top).

This dish is a Cycladic specialty, you will definitely find in the menus of Paros or Naxos. I hope my dish to made you feel like being there. Until the next recipe I will be happy to hear from you either on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter!

1 Comment

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