Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!
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Course: main course
Total time: under 1 hour
Skill level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: Serves 2
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I love the Mediterranean flavors of this dish. If you have a skillet large enough to hold everything the recipes doubles well, though it may take a few minutes longer for the sauce to reduce.


  • Two 6-ounce tilapia fillets (or any other white-fleshed fish)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks trimmed and discarded, halved vertically, cored, and sliced as thinly as possible (see Notes)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup dry, white wine or vermouth
  • Once 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • ¼ cup chopped, pitted Niçoise or other brine-cured black olives 
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves (see Notes)
  • Lemon wedges for serving


1. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet (that can be covered) over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the fennel, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until fennel starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and raise heat to medium-high. Simmer until wine reduces slightly, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes along with their juice. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the fennel is soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the olives and capers. Add the fish, nestling it into the sauce. Cover skillet and simmer until fish is opaque all the way through, 8 to 10 minutes. Fish overcooks quickly, so watch carefully. For fillets thinner than one inch, check at the 7-minute mark. If the fish is opaque, it's done.

6. Gently stir basil into the sauce, and serve with lemon wedges.

Make it Faster:

An even quicker version of this dish is Spicy Sauteed Fish with Olives and Grape tomatoes, which is ready in under 20 minutes: Salt and pepper the fish, then cook in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Add ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, ½ teaspoon red peper flakes, 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved, ¼ cup chopped, pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives, 3 garlic cloves, minced, and the grated zest and juice of ½ lemon to the pan and cook until the tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then spoon over the fish and serve with rice to catch all those delicious juices.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving

372kcal (19%)
1119mg (47%)
13g (20%)
3g (13%)
85mg (28%)
32mcg RAE (1%)
34mg (57%)
163mg (16%)
4mg (24%)
Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!