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This pan seared cod recipe with tomato garlic sauce pairs flaky, mild-flavored cod fish with a flavor-packed sauce for a beautiful meal that comes together in just 30 minutes!

pan fried cod with tomato sauce

If you’re looking for easy cod recipes that are equally nutritious and delicious, welcome to your new favorite dinner!

Here we pan-sear cod fish while roasting a zesty tomato garlic sauce. After the fish is quickly seared in a hot skillet, we transfer it to the oven to finish cooking on top of the sauce so it can soak up the flavors.

It’s an absolutely beautiful meal that helps you easily bring restaurant-quality food to your kitchen. And it makes just two servings, so it’s perfect for date-night or Valentine’s dinner. But of course you can easily double or triple it depending on how many people you’re feeding.

Pan fried cod with fresh tomato pairs well with rice or bread to soak up the juices, or a green vegetable like asparagus or broccoli to keep the carbs down. You can’t go wrong!

front viewpan fried cod with tomato sauce of cod with fresh tomatos and garlic in bowl

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Most of us want to eat more fish! We all know fish is healthy, right? With easy and delicious weeknight fish recipes like this one your sleeve, there’s no reason not to eat fish more frequently.
  • It takes just 30 minutes from start-to-finish. You can stop at the grocery store and pick up a few items to make this dish and still have dinner on the table within an hour.
  • Restaurant quality with minimal effort. Pan-seared cod is an absolutely beautiful meal, and definitely looks and tastes like something you’d get at a high-end restaurant!
  • Special-diet-friendly. This healthy cod recipe is loaded with nutrition and is naturally gluten free, paleo, low carb, and keto-friendly.
close up top view of healthy cod dinner in bowl on rustic wooden table

Pan Seared Cod Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions

Roasted Tomato Garlic Sauce Ingredients

  • Cherry tomatoes – We leave the cherry tomatoes whole for this recipe, mostly for presentation purposes. The tomatoes burst while roasting, and the juices form a sauce.
  • Garlic – Garlic adds depth of flavor and aroma here. It pairs beautifully with tomatoes and helps create a flavorful sauce for the cod.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – We use a touch of crushed red pepper flakes for spicy heat. You can add more or less to taste.
  • Salt and black pepper – These pantry-staple seasonings bring out the flavor of the tomatoes.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – We use a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil for richness and depth of flavor.

Pan-Seared Cod Ingredients

  • Cod fillets – You can use fresh or frozen fish, just make sure to thaw it if frozen. Pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning so it gets a nice sear.
  • Salt and black pepper – We only need basic seasonings on the fish because the tomato sauce is full of flavor.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – We use a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil to sear the fish. If you prefer, you can use avocado oil or ghee (clarified butter).

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Roasted Tomato Garlic Sauce

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss together all ingredients for the sauce in an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish. Roast for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Pan-Sear the Cod

Use paper towels to pat the fish dry on both sides, and then season it with salt and black pepper.

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, and then add the fish. Cook the fish until browned on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

When the tomatoes only have 5 minutes left to cook, transfer the cod to the top of the tomatoes to finishing cooking and soak up the flavor of the tomato garlic sauce.

Step 3: Serve

Divide the tomato garlic sauce and fish between 2 bowls. Serve garnished with fresh dill (or any herb you like), along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Tips

  • Pat the fish dry before seasoning with salt and pepper. Removing any excess moisture on the fish will help it get a nice sear.
  • If you’re pressed for time, skip the homemade tomato garlic sauce. You can use your favorite marinara sauce instead. (When I’m in a hurry, Michael’s of Brooklyn Marinara Sauce is my favorite and it’s available on Amazon!)
  • Bump up the flavor with fresh herbs. To add a ton of flavor and make this dish feel really special, garnish with fresh herbs such as dill, basil, parsley, or oregano right before serving.
  • This meal is best served fresh. Like many fish recipes, this one best served when it’s hot and freshly made.
2 servings of pan fried cod in bowls

Pan Seared Cod with Tomato FAQs

What Does Cod Taste Like?

If you’re wondering if cod is a fishy tasting fish, I am happy to report that no, it is not!

Cod is a mild-flavored fish with flaky white flesh and a subtly sweet flavor. It holds up well if you want to pan-sear or oven-roast it.

Because of its light flavor, cod is a good fish to serve people who aren’t sure if they like fish.

Is it Better to Cook Fish in Oil or Butter?

The key thing to remember is that you should choose a fat that has a high enough smoke point to withstand the cooking temperature.

For oils, extra-virgin olive oil with a smoke point around 375F is a good option. Avocado oil has a smoke point around 520F, which means it can withstand even hotter temperatures.

If you prefer the flavor of butter instead of oil, ghee (clarified butter) is a better option than regular butter. Ghee has a smoke point around 450F, compared to a smoke point of around 350F for regular butter.

pan seared cod with fresh tomato sauce in white bowl

How Do You Know When Cod is Done?

Cod is fully cooked when it’s opaque, flakes easily with a fork, and reaches an internal temperature of 145F.

What Can I Serve with Cod?

Cod goes well with any number of things! Here are a few ideas:

More Quick and Easy Dinners to Make

close up of healthy fish dinner in bowl

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Pan Seared Cod with Tomato Garlic Sauce

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
This pan seared cod recipe with tomato garlic sauce pairs flaky, mild-flavored cod fish with a flavor-packed sauce for a beautiful meal that comes together in just 30 minutes!

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Ingredients
 

Roasted Tomato Garlic Sauce:

Pan-Seared Cod:

For Serving:

  • Fresh lemon wedges
  • Fresh dill or basil, parsley, oregano, etc.

Instructions
 

For the Roasted Tomato Garlic Sauce:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss together all ingredients in an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish. Roast for 20 minutes.

For the Pan-Seared Cod:

  • Use paper towels to pat the fish dry on both sides, and then season it with salt and black pepper.
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, and then add the fish. Cook the fish until browned on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • When the tomatoes only have 5 minutes left to cook, transfer the cod to the top of the tomatoes to finishing cooking and soak up the flavor of the tomato garlic sauce.

To Serve:

  • Divide the tomato garlic sauce and fish between 2 bowls. Serve garnished with fresh dill (or any herb you like), along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 5g per serving
  • Serving Suggestion: This meal is delicious served with bread or rice for soaking up the sauce, or roasted or steamed vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5of recipe | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 515mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 668IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cod with Tomato, Cod with Tomato Sauce, Pan Seared Cod

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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