This traditional Sicilian fish stew or cod puttanesca made with tomatoes, olives and capers is a classic Italian dish easy to make in 20 minutes.
Packed with Mediterranean flavors, cod puttanesca is a super simple Sicilian fish stew made with the most basic ingredients.
This healthy pan-fried cod fish recipe cooked with tomatoes, olives, and capers will bring you to the beautiful Italian island in a heartbeat.
This is one of those simple and quick fish recipes you can make both in summer and in winter. You can serve it on its own or with a nice plate of pasta!
WHAT IS COD PUTTANESCA?
What is known as "cod puttanesca" abroad, in Sicily, we call it "Sicilian-style fish" (pesce alla siciliana or pesce alla ghiotta).
This classic and humble fish stew is a traditional recipe from Messina, my hometown.
Traditionally, it's made with cod, salted cod (baccala') or swordfish and it's slowly cooked with tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano.
The sauce, in Sicilian dialect "ghiotta", is perfect to accompany any kind of fish, but it is also great with chicken or pasta.
To make this traditional Sicilian fish stew, you only need a few simple ingredients:
- Fish: Traditionally cod or swordfish are the fish of choice, but any other white fish would work well.
- Tomatoes: use cherry tomatoes or Piccadilly tomatoes, they're nice and sweet and balance well with the other salty ingredients.
- Olives: use pitted or unpitted black olives or green olives. Some Italian olives that work well in this dish are Nocellara, Taggiasca, Gaeta, or Cerignola olives.
- Capers: I like to use salt-preserved capers, but make sure you rinse them well before use.
- Oregano: Try to use freshly-dried oregano sold in branches, you can find it in most Italian delis.
- Garlic: It's not necessary, but garlic adds extra flavor. To make it lighter, you can leave it whole and discard it before serving.
- Fresh herbs: You can finish off the dish with fresh basil leaves, mint leaves or fennel tops.
I recommend serving this cod puttanesca immediately.
Transfer leftovers to an air-tight glass container, and store them for up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH ITALIAN COD STEW?
Serve this traditional Italian cod stew with some crusty bread to make the famous "scarpetta" and a simple salad on the side.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below, share a picture on Instagram and tag @thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Cod Puttanesca - Sicilian Fish Stew
- 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh celery, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
- 10 ounces ripe small Piccadilly or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 Sicilian black olives or Greek Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 teaspoon salt-preserved capers, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon freshly dried oregano leaves
- 4 skin-on fresh cod fillets, approx 4 oz/125 g each
- Handful of fresh baby basil leaves, or fennel tops
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic if using. Cook, for about 2 minutes, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water if necessary.
- Add in the tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano. Cover with a lid and gently cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Taste the sauce, and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Then with the help of a spatula push the tomatoes to the edges of the pan.
- Brush the fish fillets skin with the remaining extra-virgin olive oil, and place them skin-side down into the pan. Season them with a pinch of salt, then cover with a lid and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and fully opaque.
- Once the fish is ready, remove the fillets with a spatula and arrange on plates. Pour a ladle of the sauce on each fish fillet, top with fresh basil and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.