By Cat, February 23, 2017 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I’m getting tired of my usual ways for baking cod or halibut, and I have some cherry tomatoes in the fridge that need using-up, so I decided to give this sea bass recipe a try, with my cod (and a second test using wild-caught halibut). The idea is that the cherry tomatoes will burst under the heat of the broiler to create their own fresh sauce.
The combination of fish, herbs and veggies in this quick and easy recipe is really good.
See also: 1. Fish & Seafood Menu; 2. Herbs & Spices: Blends (includes Herbes de Provence)
Cod, Halibut or Sea Bass With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives
I’ve adapted this simple recipe from one on the Bon Appetite website (1). The original serves 4; I’ve adjusted it for 1 serving which can easily be adjusted to serve more; I’ve also made a few tweaks on the ingredients.
Because my tomatoes are getting a little wrinkly, for the first test, I pre-soaked them in filtered water to rehydrate them. Also, it’s winter in Montana, so could not obtain fresh basil and used 1 tsp dried basil (combined with olive oil and lemon juice as in a vinaigrette) instead.
For the second test, I used fresh tomatoes in the veggie mix. And I used dried Herbes de Provence sprinkled over the fish, and then drizzled olive oil over that. This was better than the first test. However, if you can get fresh basil, I think that would be the best of all. I plan to test that in the coming summer (it is March as I write this).
For my Feb 2020 test, I used grape-tomatoes (halved), mix of capers and chopped olives and dried Herbes de Provence sprinkled over the fish. See also my recipe Baked Cod or Salmon with Capers and Olives, which is the inspiration for adding capers.
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes (about 4 ounces)
- 2 Tbsp chopped Greek olives; OR mix of ½ Tbsp capers and 1½ Tbsp chopped olives
- 2 tsp Organic olive oil
- unrefined sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- one 6-ounce fillet of cod, halibut or sea bass
- Herbes de Provence dried seasoning (use if fresh basil not available)
- 1 Tbsp (packed) chopped fresh basil,
or 1 tsp dried basil
- Small bowl
- Glass (Pyrex) baking dish, sized to accommodate the fish filet(s)
- Oven with broiler, or separate broiler
- Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat broiler; or preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine shallot, garlic, tomatoes, olives (and capers, if using), and oil in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Set aside.
- If using dried basil, mix it with a small amount of oil and lemon juice and let sit while fish cooks (Fresh basil gets added when you serve).
- Place fish in glass baking dish and season with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence (if using). Scatter tomato mixture over fish and broil* until fish is opaque throughout and tomatoes have started to burst, or bake in preheated oven, 10–20 minutes, depending on size and thickness of filet.
- Serve with fresh basil (if available) scattered over top.
‘*NOTE: if you don’t have a broiler, you can bake, uncovered, in the oven.
2/23/17: Made one cod filet as instructed, but my tomatoes had started to shrivel, so I soaked them in water with a bit of lemon juice for a couple hours, hoping they’s puff again; they didn’t but they did take up some of the moisture. Also used dried basil because fresh isn’t available here in winter; added a bit of lemon juice and olive oil to moisten it, rather like a salad dressing. It did help a bit, and also helped bring out the flavor. Used mixed black and green brined Greek olives, a small shallot and small garlic clove. I have a gas range with separate broiler and used that. Checked after 10 minutes; not quite done yet. Checked again, 3 min later…done. Result: This is very good, but I can hardly wait to try it with fresh basil!
3/16/17: Made one wild-caught halibut fillet as instructed but seasoned the fillet Herbes de Provence (dried), then added fresh grape tomatoes, Greek olives, garlic, shallot, and drizzled olive oil over all. Did not top with basil after broiling. Broiled total of 16 min; perfectly done. Result: Excellent! Using Herbs de Provence instead of the dried basil/olive oil combo is much better. But if you have fresh basil as in original recipe, I think that would be even better.
11/25/17: Made with red snapper; otherwise ingredients as written, using Herbes de Provence. Decided to try baking rather than broiling (because I forgot it is to be broiled and preheated my oven to 350F. Result: Excellent, as before. The tomatoes didn’t have that ‘broiled’ look, but for me, it’s the taste that counts the most.
2/5/20: Made with 8 oz cod and used mix of grape tomatoes (cut in half to remove seeds), chopped olives, capers, sliced scallion & garlic, and olive oil to cook with the fish; soaked dried Herbes de Provence in lemon juice/olive oil while fish cooked. Into 350°F oven at 6:15 PM; not quite done at 6:35 PM (20 min); out at 6:40PM; scattered soaked herbes over fish and served. Result: delicious; the capers were a great addition, and I prefer Herbs de Provence to basil. However, this piece of cod had a few bones that I couldn’t see, and one got stuck where the back of my mouth meets the top of the throat, in the base of my tongue. Thankfully I was able to remove the bone (using a few tricks I learned as a kid).
- Bon Appetite, recipe from their test kitchen: bonappetit.com/recipe/sea-bass-cherry-tomatoes