Baked Cod With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

April 26, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes 1 ¼ cups pesto
Author Notes

This recipe is a public service announcement to bring sun-dried tomatoes back into your life. Sure, they got a bad rap in the '90s and haven’t had their moment in decades, but these intensely concentrated tomatoes are versatile pops of flavor. This Sicilian spin on the classic Pesto alla Genovese is called Pesto Rosso, dating back centuries. It's spiked with rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes, which makes for a dynamic sauce. Cod acts as a blank slate to absorb all the intensity of Pesto Rosso without overpowering it (a more fishy-fish, like salmon, would probably be too much).

I call for sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil for this recipe. Pro tip: Reserve the olive oil from the jar and use it for the olive oil that gets slowly drizzled into the pesto. Most likely you’ll need to supplement it with more olive oil from your pantry, but it’s a great way to cut down on food waste. The real joy of this recipe is that you can make the pesto up to one week in advance, making this a true weeknight winner. I like using a whole piece of cod, but individual filets work too. If you use a smaller cut, save the remaining pesto for mixing into pasta or smearing on sandwiches. —Alexis deBoschnek

What You'll Need
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the cod:
  • 2 large lemons, thinly sliced and deseeded
  • 1 large cod filet (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat the oven to 400˚F with an oven rack positioned in the center.
  2. Make the pesto rosso: Add the sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil into the food processor until smooth.
  3. Prepare the cod: Pat the cod dry with paper towels and season with salt. Spread the lemons on a rimmed baking sheet and place the cod on top of the lemons. Spread 1 cup of the pesto on top of the cod in a thick layer.
  4. Transfer to the middle of the center rack in the oven and bake until the cod is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork, about 13 to 15 minutes. Serve cod immediately with the remaining pesto.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alexis deBoschnek
    Alexis deBoschnek
  • HonestShe
  • Carla Strauss
    Carla Strauss
Alexis deBoschnek is a freelance recipe developer, cook, and video host based in the Catskills.

3 Reviews

HonestShe July 9, 2023
This recipe is the bomb! I admit to loving just about anything with sundried tomatoes but some combinations and preparations are better than others The pesto is not only great cooked on the cod and served uncooked on the side. I'm sure I'll use it in many more dishes. Fabulous!
Carla S. May 7, 2023
Wonderful recipe for Cod. The sun dried tomatoes, garlic and lemon essence add a buttery cover for the fish. It lets the flavor of the fish shine. Served with sautéed corn and roasted potatoes
Alexis D. May 7, 2023
I'm so glad you liked it!