Easy Mediterranean Fish in Tomato Sauce Recipe

Easy Cod in tomato sauce recipe

Imagine casting your net into the heart of the Mediterranean and pulling up a treasure trove of flavors. Each bite is a voyage across the sea, where the briny sweetness of a perfectly cooked fish meets the rustic charm of a tomato sauce – rich and deep with sun-ripened tomatoes

If you pay close attention, there’s a depth of flavour with garlic and herbs, reminiscent of a bustling Italian market, with a subtle heat that slowly unfolds on the tongue like the lingering warmth of a summer’s sunset – sounds too good to be true? Not quite!

This recipe is just as delicious as it sounds and incredibly easy!

Here’s how long it will take to make this dish:

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Total Time: 45-50 minutes

How to Make Mediterranean Fish in Tomato Sauce

Here’s what you need for this easy fish recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cod fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) drained Chickpeas 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • Pasta 

 

  • Optional: 1/2 cup white wine
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Optional: 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon capers
  • Optional: Lemon wedges for serving

Alternative Ingredients:

Fish Alternatives:

  • Any white fish, like Snapper, sea bass, tilapia, haddock, or grouper.
  • Shrimp or scallops

Tomato Sauce Alternatives:

  • Fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • Tomato purée or tomato paste
  • Passata or strained tomatoes

Veggies:

  • Bell peppers, green beans

Seasoning Alternatives:

  • Onions: Shallots or leeks
  • Dried seasoning: Fresh oregano, bay leaf, thyme, fresh parsley, marjoram
  • Smoked paprika

Wine Alternatives – Chicken or vegetable broth

Pasta – Rice, Cauliflower rice, or just veggies

 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Season Fish: Take the fresh fish filets and pat them dry with paper towels before you season both sides with salt and pepper. 

Step 2 – Sauté: Meanwhile, take a large saucepan (or frying pan) and heat it with olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and cook it until it’s translucent (so, for about 5 minutes).

Step 3: Add garlic, oregano, chickpeas, and red pepper flakes into the skillet and cook for another minute until fragrant – stirring continuously. 

Step 4 – Prepare the Tomato Sauce: Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and white wine to the skillet, while you continue stirring – let it simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, so the flavors can meld. 

Step 5 – Cook: Put the fresh cod into the red tomato sauce and spoon some of the sauce over each filet, so it’s all somewhat covered. Then add a little to the skillet and let the fish cook for about 10-15 minutes over lower heat.

Step 6 – Garnish: Gentle stir in the basil, capers, and olives (optional) during the last few minutes and adjust the seasoning if needed – serve it hot with some pasta or rice on the side and garnish with fresh basil or lemon wedges.

Expert Tips

  • You can see the fish fully cooked through, once it flakes easily with a fork. 
  • Don’t skip out on patting your fish dry or it may not cook evenly and make the sauce watery.
  • If your sauce is too thick, use some water or broth to thin it out more.
  • Let the fish settle for a few minutes after you’re done cooking, so the flavors can set

What to Serve this Dish With

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions, if you have further questions, don’t be afraid to comment below!

What type of fish is best for tomato sauce recipes?

For this type of recipe, you want to choose a white fish like a cod, haddock, or sea bass since they hold shape well and have a rather mild flavor that won’t overpower the sauce. 

Can you freeze fish in tomato sauce?

Yes! This is one of those recipes that freezes amazingly for up to 3 months. For this, let it completely cool off and transfer the dish to an airtight container and put it in the freezer. Once you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the microwave or in a skillet gently again.

How do you prevent fish from falling apart in tomato sauce?

Great question! To prevent the fish from falling apart, you want to use a firm-fleshed fish and avoid stirring the sauce too vigorously. Further, let the fish cook on a gentle simmer rather than a harsher boil or sauteé.

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Easy Cod in tomato sauce recipe

Easy Mediterranean Fish in Tomato Sauce Recipe


  • Author: Anna Dykeman
  • Total Time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cod fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) drained Chickpeas 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • Pasta 

 

  • Optional: 1/2 cup white wine
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Optional: 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon capers
  • Optional: Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Season Fish: Take the fresh fish filets and pat them dry with paper towels before you season both sides with salt and pepper. 
  2. Sauté: Meanwhile, take a large saucepan (or frying pan) and heat it with olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and cook it until it’s translucent (so, for about 5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, oregano, chickpeas, and red pepper flakes into the skillet and cook for another minute until fragrant – stirring continuously. 
  4. Prepare the Tomato Sauce: Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and white wine to the skillet, while you continue stirring – let it simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, so the flavors can meld. 
  5. Cook: Put the fresh cod into the red tomato sauce and spoon some of the sauce over each filet, so it’s all somewhat covered. Then add a little to the skillet and let the fish cook for about 10-15 minutes over lower heat.
  6. Garnish: Gentle stir in the basil, capers, and olives (optional) during the last few minutes and adjust the seasoning if needed – serve it hot with some pasta or rice on the side and garnish with fresh basil or lemon wedges.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

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