A plate of pan-seared cod with Sauce Nicoise.

Last month, while flipping through Moosewood Restaurant Simple Summers for hints on baking tofu, I came across a recipe for sauce Niçoise I had apparently made years ago—a scribble in the margin read, “Delicious!!!!”

I revisited the recipe shortly thereafter and was pleased to discover all of those exclamation marks were not unwarranted. What’s more, after a teensy bit of prep—halving a cup’s worth of cherry tomatoes, mincing a clove of garlic, and coarsely chopping olives and parsley—the sauce comes together in about 5 minutes, which means this could be on your dinner table tonight. I pan-seared a couple of fillets of cod because I was too lazy to turn on the grill, but the skillet-grilled method would work well here.

Sauce Nicoise ingredients on a board.
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fish nicoise

Pan-Seared Cod with Sauce Niçoise

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5 from 5 reviews

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Use this sauce and method with any fish (or other meat) you like. Recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers.


  • cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
  • tablespoons capers, drained
  • two 6-ounce cod (or other) fish fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Neutral oil for frying
  • tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 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 2 to 3 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.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French