One-Pan Cod with Tomatoes and Capers

published Sep 15, 2023
Dinner Therapist
One-Pan White Fish with Tomatoes and Capers Recipe

When I don't feel like cooking, this is the dinner I always make. It's a totally satisfying one-pan fish dinner with minimal prep and mostly hands-off cooking.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 32 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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baking pan with white piece fillets on a bed of cherry tomatoes with capers, onions, and parsley
Credit: Kelli Foster

Dinner Therapist is my column dedicated to solving your dilemmas around the most important — but, let’s be honest, sometimes most dreaded — meal of the day. Prepping dinner night after night can be so hard. Here, I deliver practical and hopefully fun advice to make cooking less complicated and more enjoyable. Follow along for all the recipes. Got your own dinner struggles? We want to hear from you! Fill out this super-quick form for your chance to be featured in an upcoming column.

Welcome back to Dinner Therapist! I’ve loved hearing from so many of you about the dinner dilemmas you face, and what you’d love to see in a weeknight recipe. One of the most common responses was not having a lot of time to deal with dinner, and wanting a dinner recipe with minimal prep. 

With that in mind, I knew immediately the recipe I wanted to share with you: A one-pan fish dinner with jammy burst tomatoes, briny capers, and a bright sauce. It’s a family favorite that I’ve been making for years. And it’s a totally satisfying one-pan dinner that involves minimal prep and mostly hands-off cooking (you will have to get your chef’s knife out, but I promise that the chopping is kept to a bare minimum). 

The beauty of this recipe is that you’ll have this prepped before the oven even heats up. Plus, the oven does all the heavy lifting. While your dinner cooks, use this time to make a pot of orzo or couscous, slice a loaf of bread, toss together a simple green salad, wash the dishes, prep tomorrow’s lunch boxes — or just pour yourself a glass of wine. 

This meal is for nights I need to throw dinner in the oven without a lot of fuss, and I don’t have time or energy for prep work (or just really don’t feel like cooking, but still want to eat something really delicious). As a bonus, this recipe has a short ingredient list (seven, to be exact, not counting oil, salt, and pepper because they’re basics we all have) and lots of flexibility for substitutions so you can use what you already have.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Flexibility to Use What You Have

When I’m cooking for my family I often make ingredient swaps to use what I have on hand. That’s why when I develop recipes I do my best to build in flexibility whenever possible. I recognize that making swaps might not always feel obvious or intuitive, so I’m here to help. Here’s where you have flexibility with this recipe.

  • Fish. I call for cod in the recipe because it’s widely available and not too pricey, but any firm white fish will work here. Halibut and haddock are also good options, and even mahi mahi will work. You can also use fresh or frozen fish. If using frozen fillets, just be sure to thaw them first.
  • Tomatoes. The recipe calls for grape tomatoes, but if you have slightly larger cherry tomatoes, rest assured they’ll work just fine.
  • Capers. If you like just a little bit of capers, stick with using two tablespoons. Or if you love them, go ahead and use the full 1/4 cup. Don’t have capers on hand? No problem! Pitted olives, such as Castelvetrano, kalamata, and black olives, make a great stand-in here! If you have another variety, use it — they all work. Just smash them with your chef’s knife or tear them into tiny pieces.
  • Vinegar. Take your pick between red wine or sherry vinegar here; they’re both great.
  • Fresh herbs. A sprinkle of fresh herbs over the fish before serving is such a nice touch. Use whatever you have handy or like best. Parsley, basil, chives, mint, dill, or tarragon all work well.

One-Pan White Fish with Tomatoes and Capers Recipe

When I don't feel like cooking, this is the dinner I always make. It's a totally satisfying one-pan fish dinner with minimal prep and mostly hands-off cooking.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 32 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    large shallots

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 pints

    grape tomatoes (about 20 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup

    drained capers

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    red wine or sherry vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4

    (6-ounce) skinless cod fillets, thawed if frozen

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped fresh tender herbs, such as parsley, basil, chives, mint, dill, or tarragon

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to a 9x13-inch baking dish as you complete it: Trim, peel, and quarter 2 large shallots lengthwise. Peel and thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Add 2 pints grape tomatoes, 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup drained capers (rinse if salt packed), 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Stir to combine.

  3. Roast until the tomatoes soften and split, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, brush 4 cod fillets all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season all over with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  4. Stir the vegetables and gently separate the shallot layers with a wooden spoon. Push the tomatoes and capers to the sides of the baking dish and nestle the cod fillets in the center. Return to the oven and roast until the cod is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs.

Recipe Notes

Fish substitutions: Any firm-fleshed white fish, such as halibut, sea bass, or monkfish, can be used. Thinner fillets may need less roasting time, so check on them earlier.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.