You can make my Nonna's Skillet Cod with Tomatoes in less than 25 minutes! You'll love this quick Italian fish recipe accented with garlic, olives and parsley. Don't forget to dip crusty bread in the pan juices!
Every time I make this Skillet Cod with Tomatoes, it smells like Nonna's been cooking in my kitchen! This is one of her dishes from Naples that I've loved since childhood.
Think tender, moist, flaky cod in a pool of olive oil flavored with garlic, topped with savory, cooked tomatoes and accented with parsley and black olives. Mmmm.
Can you smell the aroma?
I used to call this sautéed cod, but it's more of a braised cod dish. The fish turns out so moist after cooking in the liquid!
Cod: Use Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, scrod, haddock, pollock or any sturdy white fish, such as halibut. It's best to use thick fish fillets, so the tomatoes have time to cook down. If you're starting with frozen cod, let it thaw first.
Tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes or four whole, peeled tomatoes from a can, which is what I prefer. You can use the rest of the can of tomatoes for these Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes or these Italian Sautéed Mushrooms, or simply use them to make tomato sauce.
If using fresh tomatoes, you'll need to remove the core and most of the seeds. It's optional to peel the skin off, but if you leave it on, you may find little bits of skin in your pan when the tomatoes are cooked.
Olives: These are optional but add a nice pop of color and a salty flavor accent. I prefer black olives, but feel free to use your favorite kind.
How to make skillet cod with tomatoes
See the recipe card at the end of this post for full instructions, but here's an overview.
It's best to use a 12-inch skillet with a lid (affiliate link) for this recipe. You could use a 12-inch frying pan with a lid if needed.
- Sauté thinly sliced garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the cod and top with tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour the remaining olive oil over the top.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover the pan and let the fish cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Add the olives during the last minute of cooking.
- Briefly cooking the garlic slices first ensures they'll be tender when the fish is done. I recently updated the recipe to include this step. (The photos of the cooked fish include more firm garlic that wasn't sautéed first.)
- Don't flip the cod during cooking because it's not necessary and can cause the tender fish to fall apart.
- You can make this up to two hours before serving it and leave it in the pan uncovered on the stove, reheating if desired. Nonna always believed the food has to wait for you, not the other way around.
What to serve with it
Besides the requisite crusty bread, you have to try this cod dinner with Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes! It's a match made in heaven.
Frequently asked questions
You can, but you'd probably have to roast the tomatoes first. Most recipes call for roasting the tomatoes tossed in oil for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F before adding the cod and baking for an additional 10-15 minutes.
It's quicker to make this Italian cod on the stove!
It should take about 11 minutes to cook cod on the stove using this recipe, but it will depend on the thickness of your fish. The cod is done when you can flake it with a fork.
When the pan comes to a boil, you can cook the fish covered for 10 minutes. Then you can turn off the heat and let the cod continue to steam in the covered pan for a few minutes until you're ready to serve it. The cod will be very tender.
I hope you enjoy this Skillet Cod with Tomatoes as much as we do! My kids have loved this dish since they were little (minus the olives)!
More cod recipes
If you love cod, check out this Baked Cod with Bread Crumbs and Butter and this keto Parmesan Baked Cod. You also may like Broiled Cod with Paprika. Oven-Fried Cod, Pan-Fried Cod Fish, Atlantic Cod with Coffee Butter and Fried Baccalà (Salted Cod Fish)!
If you try this skillet cod recipe, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Skillet Cod with Tomatoes and Olives
- 1 ½ pounds fresh cod fillets (see notes for substitutions)
- 4 medium vine tomatoes (fresh or picked from a can of peeled, whole tomatoes)
- 3 large cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt (plus more to taste, if needed)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (divided use)
- 1 ounce sliced black olives (drained & patted dry for garnish, optional)
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Rinse the cod in cold water and remove any bones. Pat fish dry with a paper towel.
- Rinse parsley and dry it before chopping the leaves. Set aside. Slice up the garlic.
- If using fresh tomatoes, rinse, core, and peel them (optional). Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch wedges and remove the seeds. (If using canned tomatoes, just use four tomatoes from the can. Cut them up with a fork and drain the juice.)
- Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet on mediump-high. Add the garlic and saute it for two minutes until fragrant and sizzling. Then add the cod and top with tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of parsley, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Pour ¼ cup of olive oil on top and bring the pan to a boil.
- When boiling, put the heat on low and cover the pan. Cook until the cod can be flaked with a fork. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish, but start checking after 10 minutes of being covered. Do not flip the fish. When the cod is just about done, add olives for the last minute of cooking.
- When the cod is done, turn off the heat. If desired, you can let the fish sit in the covered pan for a few minutes until you're ready to serve it. (The cod can stay in the pan for up to two hours, but uncover it after a few minutes, so it doesn't continue steaming in the pan. Reheat if desired.) Garnish with a tablespoon of parsley and add any extra salt needed before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers for up to four days. I would not recommend freezing this.
(Recipe Source: Adapted from Nonna, who taught Mom to make this. Originally published on July 22, 2014 as "Nonna's Fish with Tomatoes" and updated now with additional photos and information, plus a tweak to the recipe.)