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Pan-seared Mackerel

April 21, 2022
Courtesy the authorCourtesy the author

I prefer to sear the mackerels cleaned and whole, sans head and tail (this is just to save space in the frying pan); but if you or your guests don’t want to spend time on the mindful ritual of picking bones, ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you.


  • 4medium sized mackerels, whole or in fillets (10”-12” long, without head and tail)
  • 1stick salted butter; add more as needed
  • ½ to 1cup white flour, for coating
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Handful Italian/flat leaf parsley
  • 2lemons
Yield: serves 4


  • Step 1

    Pour the flour into a shallow bowl or dish with edges, add generous amounts of freshly ground pepper and kosher salt. Rinse the fish in water, then coat it with the flour mixture, making sure all of it is covered white.

  • Step 2

    Melt the butter on medium-high heat in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Add fish and fry it until the skin looks brown and crispy, then turn it over, and do the same on the other side. You can check if the fish is done by sticking a knife into the thickest part; flesh should be white and not translucent and separate easily from the bone.

  • Step 3

    Adjust heat as needed to prevent skin from burning. Since the fish should cook in generous amounts of butter (as this will also be used as sauce on top of both the fish and potatoes when served) make sure to add butter, if needed, while the fish is frying.

  • Step 4

    When done, arrange fish on plates or a platter, sprinkle with liberal amounts of fresh parsley. Add lemons in halves around fish.

  • Step 5

    Serve with cucumber-dill salad, boiled potatoes, and sour cream. It adds color and flavor when served with sweet pickled red beets, my favorite.

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