Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

QuickQuick and EasyGluten-FreeFish

A quick and easy recipe for fish sautéed in olive oil, with Italian herbs and fresh tomatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

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.

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.


  • 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


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.

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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

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

28 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Edith T.

    My husband loved this recipe! I loved this recipe! We had Pacific cod fillets from Alaska and fresh tomatoes from our CSA farm. We also used sunflower oil that we get from our CSA farm. Very easy, quick and delicious. Will definitely make it again.

  • Ken

    This is ridiculously simple and sooooo good! Salt the tomatoes to taste and enjoy!

  • Shirley Muck

    I made this last night with cod. It was so good. Thanks for posting! BTW, everything I have made on this site is delicious.

  • Dean

    Thank you so much for this recipe, absolutely delicious and so simple to make!

  • Keith

    Excellent. Made with cod, local tomatoes (coming into season now), and 2 T chopped herbs from our garden (mostly basil, oregano, then parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme), Served with Carolina Gold Rice and steamed Broccoli. So, so good! And looking forward to some amazing fish cakes with the leftovers!

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Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh TomatoesCod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes