Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

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.

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


  • 1 pound thin skinless fish fillets
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin 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 Prep fillets: Remove any pin bones from the fillets and pat them dry. Salt the fish fillets well and set out on a cutting board.

2 Sauté fish on one side: Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and set it over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the fish fillets, which should sizzle gently. Cook undisturbed for 90 seconds.

3 Baste fish with hot pan oil: 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.

4 Add tomato, seasonings: 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.

5 Swirl tomatoes to emulsify sauce: 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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  • 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!


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ken, I’m so glad you like the recipe! It is crazy easy, isn’t it?

  • 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!

  • Toni

    Fantastic recipe. I’ve made it a couple of times– this time with a Penzeys creamy peppercorn seasonings base, since I’m out of Italian seasoning. It was delicious.


  • Paula

    I made this tonight – it is one of the most perfect dishes I’ve ever made and can’t wait to make it again. Oil and seasonings along with the hot sauce and tomatoes are a perfect marriage in this simple recipe.
    Over some rice could not have been more perfect.

    Thank you, it’s a keeper!


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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>

  • 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

  • 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!!

  • Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry

    This is a great recipe, next time I make fish, I will go for it, thanks! Generally, I make fish fillet with a green herbs marinade.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • Ella

    Thank you! Needed a new way of preparing white fish. It’s so simple too!

  • 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?