Mackerel with lemon olive oil and tomatoes, in New York, Sept. 13, 2017. Pale-fleshed and much more delicate than people think, mackerel has more character than your average ultra-mild white fish, like flounder, but it’s a lot gentler, less fatty and more sustainable than salmon. (Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times)
Mackerel With Lemon Olive Oil and Tomatoes (Serves 4)


For the lemon oil:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (save naked lemon for garnish)
For the fish:
6 to 8 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
680g mackerel fillets, or use cod or black sea bass if unavailable
Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil, more as needed
3/4 cup olives, preferably a mix of green and black, pitted and halved, or chopped
1 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes


Make 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.
Let 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.
When ready to prepare the fish, heat oven to 220 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.
Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes for thin fillets and up to 12 minutes for thick fillets.
Cut naked lemon into wedges. 
Serve fish drizzled with more lemon oil, garnished with lemon wedges and torn basil leaves.

The New York Times