Mackerel With Lemon Olive Oil and Tomatoes
Mackerel is a sustainable, velvety, sweet-tasting fish that deserves more attention than it usually gets. Here, the pale fillets are roasted on a bed of fragrant basil leaves with a lemon zest-infused olive oil, chopped olives and juicy cherry tomatoes. If you have a bottle of cold-pressed lemon olive oil on hand, you can use it here in place of making your own. If infusing your own oil, feel free to use either a regular lemon or a Meyer lemon. Leftover lemon oil is great on salads, tossed with vegetables, or drizzled over avocado toast.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ⅓cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (save naked lemon for garnish)
- 6to 8 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 ½pounds Atlantic mackerel fillets, or use cod or black sea bass (tautog) if unavailable
- Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1to 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil, more as needed
- ¾cup olives, preferably a mix of green and black, pitted and halved, or chopped
- 1cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
Step 1Make the oil: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and lemon zest until you see the first tiny bubble appear on the side of the pan. Immediately turn off heat. You don’t want the mixture to simmer.
Step 2Let infuse for at least 20 minutes (and preferably an hour) before using; you do not have to strain it. Oil can be made up to a month in advance. Store in a sealed jar at room temperature.
Step 3When ready to prepare the fish, heat oven to 425 degrees. Place the basil leaves on a rimmed baking dish and arrange fish on top. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, then drizzle the lemon oil over the fillets. Top with olives. Scatter tomatoes around the pan.
Step 4Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes for thin fillets and up to 12 minutes for thick fillets.
Step 5Cut naked lemon into wedges. Serve fish drizzled with more lemon oil, garnished with lemon wedges and torn basil leaves.