Easy Mediterranean cod with fennel, kale and black olives, a healthy complete meal prepared in one pan and ready in 30 minutes!
Perfectly flaky cod nestled in a tomato fennel broth with briny olives, bright orange zest, and floral oregano. This dish, this beautiful Mediterranean cod is a must try.
This recipe is an old favorite from my personal chef days and was in my top 5 most requested recipes. But somehow this beautiful cod ended up in the recipe graveyard and I haven’t made it for years. Then while prepping for a Mediterranean cooking class this week, I was digging deep in my recipe archives and pulled out a heavily stained, hand scribbled recipe for one pan Mediterranean cod and thought, “Hey friend, where have you been!”.
I have since made it twice in a week. I can’t get enough. The entire dish takes 32 minutes from start to finish. I literally turned on the stopwatch feature on my phone and pressed stop at 32 minutes exactly when the cod was flaky and perfectly cooked.
Fennel is the star in this recipe, if you haven’t cooked with fennel yet this is the perfect starter recipe. The veggie gets sweet and caramelized with onions and garlic and then fresh fennel fronds (that furry part at the top) are scattered on top of the dish at the end of cooking. The result is a bright fragrant dish that is simply gorgeous. (Worried about having leftover fennel? Don’t be, this recipe for fennel simple syrup uses all of your leftover fennel.)
I didn’t end up preparing this dish during my Mediterranean cooking class because cooking cod in a conference room in a corporate office in NYC is not the best idea 🙂 I did prepare a ton of plant based Med inspired dishes that were all a huge hit. The Mediterranean diet is the most studied dietary theory and for good reason.
Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating based on the traditional foods of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea. The most common eating characteristics are; abundant consumption of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains (the majority of grains eaten are minimally processed). Olive oil is the principal source of dietary fat. Fish, shellfish, and poultry are consumed several times per week, cheese and yogurt are consumed in moderate quantities, red wine is consumed in moderation, and sweets and red meats are consumed sparingly.
The MedDiet is recognized as one of the best patterns of eating. Studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet may help prevent type 2 diabetes’, can reduce heart disease by 79% in patients with established heart disease and appears to decrease the risk of several types of cancer by 13%.
In class, I highlighted that the food consumed is really only one aspect of the Mediterranean diet, the true magic of eating in this region goes far beyond isolated nutrients in the food. It’s the lifestyle. The pace of life, the connection to family and community, the respect for the land and seasonal food, the immense respect for food tradition. You will be hard pressed to find people in the Mediterranean running to work while trying to quickly eat a bagel with cream cheese. Food is savored, respected. Eating is slowed down.
So although this quick and easy Mediterranean cod with black olives and kale takes only 32 minutes to prepare, I hope you take you take the time to savor it, share it with someone you love. Slow down. Sip a glass of crisp white wine.
That’s the beauty of the Mediterranean way of eating, and that’s the real beauty of this Mediterranean Cod.
Thanks for reading Abra’s Kitchen! To see what goodness I’m whipping up be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you make this recipe tag #abraskitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation 🙂
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 cups sliced fennel
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can diced tomato
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded kale
- ½ cup water
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp fresh oregano (or ½ tsp dried oregano)
- 1 cup oil cured black olives
- 1 lb. cod, cut into 4 portions
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp orange zest
- fresh oregano, fennel fronds, orange zest, olive oil
- In a large skillet (ideally with high sides) over medium heat, cook onion, fennel, and garlic in olive oil for 8 minutes, season with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp of each). Add canned diced tomato, fresh tomato, kale, and water. Stir well and cook for 12 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, fresh oregano, and olives.
- Prepare fish, season with salt, pepper, orange zest and fennel seeds (optional). Nestle fish into kale tomato stewing mixture. Cover pan and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and finish with fennel fronds, more fresh oregano, more orange zest, and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
- Serve immediately.
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