Seared Mackerel with Marinated Tomatoes

Chef Julia Sedefdjian’s simple mackerel is briefly marinated, then seared and served over simply dressed ripe heirloom tomatoes. A white balsamic–spiked tomato vinaigrette provides the perfect sweet-tart counterpoint to the rich, robust flavor of the mackerel.


    • 2 pounds skin-on mackerel fillets, pin bones removed, cut into 8 equal portions, skin side scored
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons), divided
    • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 pound heirloom tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes)
    • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 small bunch fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and finely chopped


  1. Sprinkle mackerel with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir together extra-virgin olive oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl. Place fish, skin side up, in a single layer in a shallow pan or dish. Pour marinade over fish; cover and chill 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high. Working in batches, add fish, skin side down. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes; flip and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through, 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Remove seeds; transfer seeds to a small bowl. Set tomato wedges aside. Add vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to tomato seeds. Add lime juice, remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice; whisk until emulsified. Whisk in shallots and chervil until combined.
  4. Arrange fish and tomato wedges on 4 plates, and dress with vinaigrette.