White Fish + Black Olive Salsa

white fish with olive sauce

This recipe (almost) qualifies as a guilty pleasure of mine, as our flatmate doesn’t like fish, olives, or spicy foods. Fortunately my boyfriend does! This was a culinary adventure of ours (inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, of course), while our flatmate was out for an evening.

This is a very flavourful recipe without too much effort. Since fish cooks so quickly and the sauce only requires a bit of chopping, it would be a great weeknight meal or a tasty option to serve to guests with minimal stress.

White Fish with Black Olive Salsa

Serves 4
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • 4 white fish fillets (we used basa; barramundi, cod, sole, haddock, or flounder would also work)
  • Fish marinade:
    • 1/3 cup dry white wine
    • juice of 1 lemon (about 1/8 cup juice)
    • zest from 1/2 lemon
    • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
    • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed finely
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp marjoram
    • small handful fresh basil, chopped
    • salt & pepper
  • For the black olive salsa:
    • two handfuls black olives, pitted and chopped finely
    • 1/2 fresh red chili, deseeded and chopped finely
    • small handful fresh basil, chopped finely (you could use marjoram or parsley instead or as well)
    • 1 celery heart (any of the small, yellow-green leaves from the inside of the celery, plus one or two of the smallest stalks)
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
    • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (to taste, make sure it’s not too liquidy)
    • salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and marinate the fish for a minimum of 30 minutes. While fish is marinating, prepare olive salsa and let sit for at least 20-30 minutes, to allow flavours to combine. This marinade should cover the raw fish in your bowl, if not, add a bit more white wine and olive oil to cover the meat.

I served this meal (and Jamie Oliver recommends) with some “lemon” mashed potato. Boil some potato and mash as per your usual method—probably with some milk and/or sour cream or yoghurt, salt & pepper, and butter—and add a couple tbsp lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest, to taste. Tangy but creamy is what you’re going for, but not over-powering. Rice with a bit of lemon and basil would be another side option.

Fry fish fillets on frying pan. Two at a time with a tablespoon each of butter or oil is perfect. I’ve just gotta say that I’ve been cooking with butter more recently, and it is so worth it! Cook about 3-4 minutes per side until fish is flaky and tender. If in doubt about cooking time, observe the sides of your fish fillets—the white, cooked flesh will show how done it is, as it will creep up the sides of the fillet as it cooks. Don’t forget that if fish has been stored properly, it’s okay if it’s done more on the rare side. Fortunately, white fish is a forgiving kind of meat! Slice into it carefully to determine its doneness, and remember that once you remove it from the heat it will continue to cook slightly.

Serve with some fresh greens tossed with a light dressing (I used a caramelized balsamic dressing), the potato mash and olive salsa. All items in this dish make great leftovers. Sssh… I may have used the leftovers for photos, in fact!

Leave a reply