Fish with Sauce Niçoise

July 12, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

"Fish" is intentionally vague here. I've pan-seared cod, but the preparation could be poached, grilled, roasted, skillet-grilled (which I appreciated even more after this recent go at pan-frying), etc. And the fish could be anything you like—this sauce is very versatile. With that in mind, too, the sauce could work with chicken, steak, polenta, eggplant, cauliflower, etc.—it's versatile.

Recipe comes from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 6-ounce cod (or other) fish fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Neutral oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, halved, plus more for serving
  1. Combine the tomatoes, olives, and capers in a bowl. Pat the fish dry. Season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Set a large sauté pan over high heat. Add a thin layer of oil. When it shimmers, carefully lower in the fish fillets. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the fish cook for two to three minutes undisturbed. Using a spatula, carefully nudge the fish to release it from the pan, then flip it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, then transfer it to a serving plate.
  3. Wipe out the pan. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and the minced garlic. The garlic should sizzle nearly immediately. Cook, shaking the pan for about 30 seconds, then add the tomato mixture. Cook for another 30 seconds, shaking the pan every so often. Juice the lemon into the pan. Add the parsley and stir to coat. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the tomatoes have softened ever so slightly. Remove the pan from the heat, spoon the sauce over the fish, and serve with more lemon on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nori Heikkinen
    Nori Heikkinen
  • Julia Garrick
    Julia Garrick
  • Roger Dumas
    Roger Dumas
  • AntoniaJames
  • darcyeden
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

32 Reviews

Burton July 24, 2022
Would this recipe work with a fish like tilapia?
Danielle July 24, 2022
Absolutely. Just update cool times.
Danielle September 12, 2021
I’m going to be honest: I did some modification here as I only had cod, tomatoes, and kalamata olives. And then I got lazy and cooked the tomatoes and olives right next to the fish, then drizzled garlic olive oil over the whole thing. Wow, it was still amazing and FAST. Even my daughter, who says that cod is fishy, ate two servings and then looked at me with disdain as I finished the fish.
Nori H. July 12, 2021
Delicious! I doubled the tomatoes and added in 1 anchovy, which made it sing with Niçoisiness. Served it with grilled tofu & grilled yellow zucchini. Yum!
Julia G. August 20, 2017
This just came up on a Food52 Facebook post, and it looks so delicious that I'm cooking it tonight. I already do something similar, but the fish is oven baked on a bed of green beans, olives & cherry tomatoes with a few anchovies, plenty of lemon juice and basil and salt and pepper. Your recipe sounds 10 times more flavourful and I can't wait to make dinner! Thank you Alexandra.
Alexandra S. August 20, 2017
Your bed of vegetables plus olives (vegetable, too??) AND anchovies AND lemon AND basil all sounds amazing!! Hope you like this one too.
Bill August 4, 2017
Fabulous! I added a splash of sherry vinegar to finish the sauce and served over a bit of prosciutto. This will be a "go-to" for me.
Alexandra S. August 10, 2017
So happy to hear this, Bill! Sherry vinegar and prosciutto sound lovely.
Roger D. October 11, 2016
I made this tonight and it was stunningly good. Next time I think I'd use half the capers. But the flavors were so bright and fresh. Thank you for the recipe!
Alexandra S. October 11, 2016
So happy to hear this, Roger! Thanks for writing in.
Roger D. October 12, 2016
It was really, really good. Thank you again for the recipe. As my wife says, it's a keeper!
Jr0717 October 8, 2016
Any recommendations for a low-carb (or no carb) side for a lovely fish dish like this one? Please and thank you!
Alexandra S. October 8, 2016
How about a simple green salad? The arugula is so good right now. Mustard greens too. Just tossed in a simple shallot vinaigrette. Forgive my ignorance — are potatoes low carb? I've been making oven fries with larger potatoes and crispy fingerling potatoes stovetop (parboiled first) with rosemary and thyme. What else? Steamed or boiled green beans? A raw spinach salad?
Jr0717 October 8, 2016
I couldn't get to the store - the arugula sounded like an awesome idea! And potatoes aren't quite low carb, haha!

But I went with a warm salad, if you will, of zucchini ribbons, red peppers, roasted onions, and an avocado-spinach-pea pesto.

Thank you for the ideas! Always appreciated, and definitely to be referred to for next time! I make this time and time again, so it'll come in handy!
Alexandra S. October 11, 2016
Ha! I love it, good to know!! Your warm salad sounds lovely!
Jack July 25, 2016
Superb weeknight dish. Fast, easy, and healthy
Alexandra S. July 25, 2016
So happy to hear this, Jack!
AntoniaJames July 20, 2016
Leftovers, cold, + a light splash of wine red vinegar, over arugula = one of the best lunches I've had all summer. Another keeper.
(A.S., you're on a roll here.) ;o)
Alexandra S. July 20, 2016
So good AJ! I had a small glass storage vessel of leftovers and just spread it over toast--love the idea of turning it into a summer salad. (And thank you :) you are kind).
darcyeden July 20, 2016
Delicious! Made this tonight with Halibut (no Cod available). Love this sauce and will make it over and over. Thanks, Ali!
Alexandra S. July 20, 2016
So happy to hear this, Darcy! And to hear from you :) xoxo
sheila356 July 16, 2016
I saw this recipe on Wednesday and couldn't wait to make it on Friday. Oh my, it is just so fresh and vibrant. The sauce is very versatile and I plan to use it on any number of things. Thank you so much.
Alexandra S. July 16, 2016
So happy to hear this, Sheila! I love its versatility, too.
AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
Going off road (revising at the last minute the menu plan I created last week), so I can make this for dinner tonight! Simply perfect summer fare. ;o)
Alexandra S. July 14, 2016
So happy to hear this, AJ! Hope you like it :)
AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
I made an olive and rosemary+thyme sweetish sourdough batard (Tartine Bread book baguette base recipe) the other day, which I'll grill to serve on the side, with a big green salad. Dinner! It's going to be a hit, for sure, and so simple. Perfect for a July evening. Thanks for the inspiration. ;o)
Alexandra S. July 14, 2016
Oh my gosh that sounds so good and so perfect for this meal. Where do you live again? :)
AntoniaJames July 16, 2016
Dinner was a huge success. We actually served the fish and flavorful sauce over the crusty grilled bread.
This one's a keeper. Plan to use seafood next time. ;o)
Alexandra S. July 16, 2016
Oh yum, sounds so good — that bread ... grilled! So happy to hear this.
love2cook July 14, 2016
My favorite is a simple fresh basil sauce: Just whirl a full food processor of fresh basil leaves, one or two sliced or crushed garlic cloves (depending on the size), the zest and juice of one large (or two small) lemon, a sprinkle of sea salt, and enough olive oil to make a thin pourable sauce. Pour over sautéed or skillet grilled fish or chicken and enjoy!
Alexandra S. July 14, 2016
oh that sounds so lovely! I bet it would be delicious on grilled veg too. My basil plants are going out of control. I need this sauce in my life!
AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
Sounds amazing, love2cook. I've just made a note of that to put in my menu plan for next week. Thanks so much. ;o)