Slow-Roasted White Fish with Caponata

published Sep 16, 2022
Slow-Roasted Caponata Fish Recipe

This is a one-pan meal where slow-roasted white fish gets jazzed up with the ingredients and vibrant flavors from classic caponata.

Serves4

Prep18 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook55 minutes to 1 hour

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caponata fish on rice on a plate
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

This recipe is part of Kitchn 100 — the hundred recipes you need right now. Check out all of the amazing dishes, from Kitchn and beyond, here.

I’ve been holding on to this secret for far too long and I want to share because, well, you all deserve to have this foolproof, showstopping dinner in your back pocket, too.

Even after making this tangy, veggie-packed slow-roasted fish dozens of times, I still feel like I’m getting away with something every time I slide it on the dinner table. It feels so impressive and there is so much flavor packed into a single baking dish, yet it calls for minimal effort and the cooking is mostly hands-off.

Nestled in a jumble of eggplant, cherry tomatoes, green olives, capers, golden raisins, and a couple glugs of olive oil and red wine vinegar (which you may recognize as the main ingredients of caponata), mild-mannered pieces of cod or halibut emerge from the oven infused with just the right balance of tangy, briny, sweet aromas. The low heat from the oven makes it nearly impossible to overcook the fish, which means you can expect delicate, impossibly tender fillets that flake apart with just the touch of your fork.

It’s a one-pan meal that’s doable on a weeknight, yet special enough for a dinner party or even a holiday dinner. I recommend serving it with couscous, fluffy rice, or with plenty of really good bread so you can mop up every last drop of sauce in the baking dish.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

The Secret to Cooking Fish in the Oven Perfectly Every Time

Let’s cut right to the chase: Slow-roasting is the most foolproof method for cooking fish in the oven. Really and truly, it is foolproof. Slowly cooking the fish in a low oven (in this case, 300°F) is a simple and reliable way to avoid overcooking your fish. It’s a mostly hands-off method that requires minimal prep and zero attention from you once it goes in the oven, and results in the most irresistible soft, tender, and flaky fish.

If you’re new to cooking fish at home or feel intimidated by it, slow-roasting is perfect for you. It’s also one of my top recommendations for anyone who’s unsure of what to cook when friends are coming for dinner or when hosting a holiday meal.

The Best White Fish for Slow Roasting

For this recipe, stick with thick, firm, skinless white fish fillets, such as cod or halibut. Hake or monkfish would also work here.

Slow-Roasted Caponata Fish Recipe

This is a one-pan meal where slow-roasted white fish gets jazzed up with the ingredients and vibrant flavors from classic caponata.

Prep time 18 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 55 minutes to 1 hour

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium globe eggplant (about 1 pound)

  • 1 pint

    grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2 medium stalks

    celery

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    pitted Castelvetrano olives

  • 1/4 cup

    drained capers

  • 1/4 cup

    golden raisins

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    red wine or sherry vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    honey

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 4

    (6-ounce) firm, skinless white fish fillets, such as cod or halibut

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 10 to 12 sprigs

    fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300ºF.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to a 9x13-inch baking dish as it is completed: Dice 1 medium eggplant (about 5 cups), halve 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, thinly slice 1 small yellow onion, dice 2 medium celery stalks (about 1/2 cup), and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

  3. Add 1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, 1/4 cup drained capers, and 1/4 cup golden raisins.

  4. Place 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour over the eggplant mixture and stir to coat. Arrange into an even layer.

  5. Bake until the vegetables are softened, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, let 4 (6-ounce) white fish fillets sit at room temperature.

  6. Stir the eggplant mixture well. Season the fish all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Nestle the fish into the eggplant mixture. Drizzle the fillets with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  7. Bake until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pick the leaves from 10 to 12 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons.

  8. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with the parsley before serving.

Recipe Notes

Fish substitutions: Any firm-fleshed white fish, such as halibut, sea bass, or monkfish, can be used.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days.