Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mediterranean Style White Fish (Thrifty Thursday)

Out of all the fish you can buy at the store, you'll notice some are cheaper than others. Don't be fooled into thinking you must eat salmon or some other fatty fish (like tuna or mackerel) for your "two servings of fish per week".  While that would be wonderful, those fish are not always in the budget (and if you're like me and you live with someone who hates those really fishy fish, like salmon, it's not always an option!).  Also, don't be fooled into thinking you must eat fresh fish.  I've found that frozen fish tends to be pretty budget friendly, and options like tilapia and cod can be found pretty cheap in the frozen section.  The downside, of course, is that you'll get significantly less Omega-3 in these lighter species of fish.  Hmmm.... ok, let's look on the bright side.......this article talks about a study that showed eating fish, two to three times per week, could reduce your stroke risk (yeah!).  While it's obviously best to choose fattier fish, the article pointed out that when participants in the study replaced the less health-promoting meats, like red meat, with any fish (such as cod or tilapia) there was a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

Instagram-photo; The Candid RD

I forced Nick to make me dinner one night. Literally. I forced him.  It was worth it, and I realized that he has a knack for cooking fish (and eggs, actually).  Nick decided to find a recipe based on the proteins I already had in the freezer (how original).   I had purchased frozen cod because it was on sale (for $6/pound!).  Nick grabbed it, typed it into Google, and came up with a winner.  I would say this recipe could be made with any white fish (I'm thinking scallops would be yummy!), really, so when you find a sale on a white fish grab it and try this recipe.

Mediterranean-Style Fish
Slightly modified from a recipe found on
Serves 2


    • 3 T olive oil
    • 2 cod fillets (~4 ounces each); or any white fish
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/4 teaspoon dry crushed red pepper
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cup kalamata olives or 1 cup other brine-cured black olives, whole
    • 1/8 cup capers
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced **
    • 3 tablespoons sauvignon blanc wine

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, omit the garlic and use a garlic or tuscan-flavored olive oil instead of regular olive oil (If you are really sensitive to GOS and FOS, this is recommended) Or, cut the garlic into large chunks so it's easy to remove when you eat the fish, but you still get the flavors infused (see photo below).


1.  Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Add half of fish to skillet and sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. 

2.  Transfer fish to platter. Repeat with remaining fish. Add parsley and crushed red pepper to same skillet; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic; sauté until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 2 minutes. Splash a few tablespoons of wine and season with salt and pepper as needed; spoon over fish.

The yellow side was just butternut squash, cooked to get soft in the microwave, then mashed in a bowl with a small amount of butter.  Simple, and so delicious (with a dash of salt and lots of fresh pepper!).

See the large chunks of garlic? Nick ate all of those, I sadly omitted mine.

Nutrition Facts for 1/2 of the recipe

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 500 calories, excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and Iron, good source of calcium.  Yes, this recipe is pretty high in sodium, but you can decrease that by rinsing your kalamata olives before adding them to the recipe.  You might also notice the large amount of fat.  The good news is that most of it is the heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat (especially from the olive oil and olives).  Yum yum!

This was an instance when I thought, "Why doesn't my husband cook every single night?".  He's got talent!

QUESTION:  What's your favorite budget-friendly fish?

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd
NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.


  1. Mmmm that looks so good! I love fish!

  2. Orange roughy was always one of my favorite meals to eat when I was growing up-- still love it! This looks like a tasty recipe!

  3. Orange roughy is an incredibly unsustainable fish . . . I always get a stomach twist when I see someone posting orange roughy recipes, actually. These fish don't even reach sexual maturity until they're almost 30 years old, so they have incredibly slow reproductive rates and at the rates we're harvesting them they'll be gone within our lifetime. They can live to be over 100 years old: so picture that fillet on your plate being alive when the Titanic sank. Also, they are caught using bottom-trawling methods that are absolutely devastating for many other marine organisms.

    Even if you're not environmentally-minded, the the FDA has a warning against eating this species because of its high mercury levels.

    I like your blog but have to say I'm always very, very disappointed when I see someone promoting the consumption of this fish.

    1. Hi Cammy,
      I do realize that orange roughy isn't one of the best fish, but that's why I made it clear that you could use others if you wanted (like cod). I just bought it on sale and am not necessarily promoting it, just saying it's an option. I get my fish from a supermarket that only buys fish from sustainable suppliers. I trust that message, because I work for the company. Either way, I agree with you and encourage you to make this recipe with another fish, it will be delicious!