Seared Mackerel with Marinated Tomatoes

Julia Sedefdjian, the Nice-born chef of Baieta in Paris, cooks food influenced by the sun-soaked ingredients of her hometown. “What I do at Baieta is revise traditional Niçoise and Provençal dishes to make them lighter and fresher,” she says. 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.

Seared Mackerel with Marinated Tomatoes
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


  • 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.

Suggested Pairing

Substantial Bandol rosé.

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