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.