Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

Please welcome Hank as he shares one of his favorite ways of preparing fish with fresh garden tomatoes. ~Elise

Tomatoes and fish are a natural pairing. Their sweetness and acidity livens up lean, white fish such as cod, walleye or sole, and it cuts some of the fattiness of oilier fish such as bluefish and mackerel.

This is a deceptively easy dish that requires a little attention while you are cooking it. You are cooking the fish very gently in the pan, then making what is essentially a warm vinaigrette with the tomatoes and olive oil.

You might notice that this recipe requires a quarter cup of olive oil. That might seem like a lot, but the oil forms the base of the sauce for the fish. You also need it to baste the fish fillets as they cook. With this method, you never flip the fish. You cook the other side of the fillet by basting it with hot oil. The result is a more delicate flavor that goes a long way toward preventing your fish from falling apart.

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Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

This recipe will work with a wide array of fish. We made it with Pacific cod, but any lean white fish—walleye, sole, pollock, haddock, redfish, etc.—will work, as would the oilier mackerel or bluefish. We recommend using a thin fillet for this recipe. The thicker fillets take more time to cook, and therefore more time is needed to baste.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin skinless fish fillets
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • A splash of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Black pepper to taste

Method

1 Remove any pin bones from the fillets and pat them dry. Salt the fish fillets well and set out on a cutting board. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and set it over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the fish fillets, which should sizzle gently. Cook undisturbed for 90 seconds.

2 When you see the bottom of the fish fillets turn opaque, tilt the pan and, using a large spoon, baste the tops of the fish with the hot oil. Do this constantly until the top of the fillets begin to flake, about 3 minutes.

3 Add the tomato chunks, the Italian seasoning and the splash of Tabasco. Swirl around in the pan to combine and let this cook for 90 seconds. Turn off the heat.

4 Put a fish fillet on everyone's plate. Swirl the tomatoes in the pan and add black pepper to taste; this swirling should emulsify the sauce. Spoon out some tomatoes and sauce for everyone and serve at once.

Serve with crusty bread and a dry rose wine.

Links:

Tuna and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds - from Kalyn's Kitchen
Fish with Warm Tomato-Olive Vinaigrette - from Chez Us
Spanish Fish with Tomatoes - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

23 Comments

  1. R

    This looks absolutely delicious, and I’d love to try it. But it runs into my downfall – filleting fish. I’m living in China, and only whole fish are really available, and my previous attempts at dealing with that have been fairly disastrous. Does anyone have a idiot-proof method for filleting a fish?

  2. Denise

    Thanks for the shout-out on our olive based fish dish – it is wonderful, but …. I am liking the spicy component to this cod recipe. Cod is such an overlooked fish except in the form of being salted. I actually prefer it fresh. Cannot wait to try this version with tomatoes. Love it.

  3. Oui, Chef

    What a thoughtful and beautiful way to cook fish. Fresh cod is always available here in the Northeast, but I’ll have to move quick and make this before our tomatoes are gone for the season.

  4. Michael

    I have a good friend that just got back from a fishing trip in Alaska. He’s promised me a few Halibut steaks/fillets. This will be one of the first recipes I try!

    Sadly, halibut is not a good choice for this recipe, unless you can get a piece that is less than an inch thick, which is uncommon with Pacific halibut. If you do get a thin piece, go for it. ~Hank

  5. Jim

    For the italian seasoning…I assume a mixture of basil, oregeno and garlic dry spices?

    That will work. I’d add a little thyme in there, too. ~Hank

  6. Mark

    I made this tonight using Halibut and it was fabulous – one of the best things I’ve eaten lately. Because of the thickness of the fish, I did stretch the cooking time a little. Red and yellow tomatoes made for a nice presentation, and asparagus sautéed in lemon juice, olive oil and thyme was the perfect side. I’ll definitely make this again!

  7. bob

    heck.. i have been doing this for years!!! I also addd peppers and onions and celery. with a tad bit of butter. i also throw in some olive with pimentos. it is really good. it kinda steams the fish. i use all types of fish filets. talipia really works well in this dish.. then you can put this over pasta crusty bread or even noodles!!

  8. Greedy Traveller

    This is another recipe I am looking forwards to trying. I get given fresh mackerel when ever my friends catch too many – I usually just fry them in seasoned flour, so this is a good new recipe to try. Thanks.

    This recipe is especially good with mackerel, as the tomatoes cut the oiliness of the fish quite well. ~Hank

  9. Frankie

    Just run into this spot! Love it. I eat a lot of fish and so far have only fried it. Come my next fish supper it will be this receipe.

    Thanks.

  10. michlhw

    this was pretty good! my boyfriend was surprised at how simple yet delicious it was.

    i used frozen flounder fillets, which was very thin.. flat frozen flounder fillets haha.. and was able to baste it by simply rocking the frying pan back and forth, sloshing the fat all over the top of the fish.

    delicious, although i’ve got to say the sauce, what with the 1/4 cup of olive oil, was too greasy to enjoy entirely. any remedy for that?

    Use less oil! ;-) Seriously, this is intended for lean, white fish, and you don’t actually eat all 1/4 cup of olive oil. But if you want to drop it by a tablespoon or so, you’ll be fine. ~Hank,/em>

  11. Espahan

    What a lovely combination of ingredients, hubby and I love Cod, fresh tomatoes and olive oil. I think this would also be good over steamed rice.

  12. Larry

    We shy away from fish from the Orient. Pacific cod or halibut is our fref.Only its not thin. This sounds so good we’ll try it anyway.The printed copy almost fit on a 3×5 card. Hint Hint

  13. Camille

    This recipe sounds delicious, I can’t wait to prepare it. It is also healthy and light…makes a gorgeous presentation. Ty for sharing!

  14. Camille

    This recipe sounds delicious, I can’t wait to prepare it. I may add a few capers ad/or kalamata olives as well. It is also healthy and light…makes a gorgeous presentation.

  15. Casey

    Delicious! I used halved orange cherry tomatoes and it turned out great. The sauce was perfect for sopping up with bread. Will be making this again.

  16. Bill Harris

    This is similar to a dish I make with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives. It works well with snapper, tilapia, halibut. I agree that it is almost a foolproof way to cook fish. Thanks for sharing this!

  17. Alain

    1/4 cup Olive Oil is far too much oil for that amount of fish. If I wanted that much I’d buy fatty fish with better omega 3 oils. The tomato absorbs the oil so it was a good idea to include it in the recipe. The tanginess was nice with the fish also. But this dish has a high fat content overall unfortunately.

    Obviously I wanted it that way. If you don’t want that much olive oil, use less. ~Hank

  18. stephanie

    Love this recipe! We”ve had it four times in the past month with fresh cod. Just had it with salt cod. Oh. My. So so so good. Added a bit of white wine when we added the tomatoes. Let it sit for about five minutes off the heat for about ten minutes so the flavors could meld. Topped with fresh parsley and a few kalamata olives. Thanks for the terrific recipe!

  19. MaDWhitham

    Really simple, really tasty with the cod we used, and oh my gosh really messy cleanup. Oil splatter all over stove, floor, and me. Even with heat on low instead of medium.

  20. Monique

    What a classic and beautiful dish! The few ingredients and ease of preparation belie how wonderful this must taste. I’ve been a happy “lurker” on Elise’s inspiring blog for some time now, but this simple though fantastic recipe was the catalyst to my creating an account and stepping out of the “shadows”. Thank you, Elise – and Hank! – for sharing your recipes with all of us.

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