Oven-Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Garlic, and Lemon

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
 --Julia Child

I think I've mentioned this dish or something similar to it in the past -- but I can't help post about it again. It is my go-to for a quick, no-fuss way to create an elegant and tasty fish dish.  

I had some cod handy, but you can use any other white fish -- halibut, bass, trout, snapper, tilapia, etc. (I wouldn't use salmon or tuna for this, as you want to use a fish that doesn't have a strong flavor.)  Also, a thick fillet is better than thin, as the pieces will break apart -- but a thin fillet will still taste terrific, so go with what you have in your fridge/freezer.  

There's not really a recipe for this dish, but here are the basics: 

To Do:
  • Roughly chop: 2-3 ripe tomatoes and 1 lemon (include the rind, remove any large seeds) and put in a medium-sized bowl.  
  • Add in 3-4 gloves of garlic (mince one and lightly smash the others), 1/4 cup of capers (drained), and about 3/4 cup of olives (I like a mix of green and black, and pitted is nice, but not necessary), also drained. 
  • Dice 1/4 stick of butter into cubes and add to the mix.  
  • Stir these ingredients all together gently, add a bit of salt/pepper and some parsley, and set aside so it can get a bit juicy from the tomatoes.

  • In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a roasting pan with olive oil cooking spray.  
  • Prep your fish by checking for any bones, cutting into uniform pieces if necessary, and patting dry (if was frozen).  

  • Place the fish in the pan and top with the tomato mixture.  Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over everything and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes -- until the fish is flaky and the tomatoes are soft.  

I had some baby spinach on hand, so I sautéed it and seasoned with a bit of olive oil and garlic powder and used that as the bed for my fish.  You can also serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or couscous.  Or, just serve it on its own--but have some crusty bread nearby, as it is nice to sop up the juices with something.  Note: Remove the lemons before plating and if your olives have pits, provide your guests with a small bowl where they can discreetly drop them.   :)

The result  of this wee bit of effort is a lemony, briny, buttery, fabulous fish dish that doesn't taste fishy.  And, served with a light green salad and crisp glass of white wine, it makes for a lovely summer meal.