An easy, one-pan fish dish that can be ready for the table in less than 30 minutes is always a good recipe to have in your repertoire. This classic Cod Provençal recipe boasts meaty cod loins, simmered in a spicy tomato sauce nestled with salty capers and black olives. This is a quick, simple and healthy one-pan dish that is incredibly flavorful and perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
What is “Cod Provençal”?
Not a specific recipe, “Provençal” refers to the style of cooking that hails from the sun-kissed region of Provence, in Southern France. The Provençal style is often used for preparing chicken or fish, and consists of using the staple ingredients found in the region: extra-virgin olive oil, sun-ripped tomatoes and garlic, olives from the local orchards, and herbs such as thyme, parsley and/or a mix (Herbes de Provence).
There likely exists as many variants of “Provençal” recipes as there are families in Provence. The main ingredients are always there (EVOO, olives, garlic, tomatoes, herbs) but other ingredients can be added for extra flavor: wine, capers, bell peppers, lemon quarters, artichoke hearts, anchovies, etc.
For this version of Cod Provençal, I chose to keep things simple to let the delicate cod loins shine and opted for the use of juicy ripe tomatoes, salty black olives and capers and a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat.
If you would like to taste another take on this “Provençal” cooking style, check out my Chicken Provençal with Olives and Cherry Tomatoes.
- For this recipe, you will need a pan with a fitted lid.
- Fresh cod loins are best, but you can use frozen cod loins too. Make sure they are fully thawed before you start cooking them.
- For the black olives, good variety choices are Nyon, Kalamata and Niçoise. I prefer using olives with pits as they are more flavorful and will also impart more flavor to the sauce. But for convenience, you can opt for pitted olives
- Choose ripe tomatoes (slightly soft to the touch). Good varieties are Red Beefsteak, Roma and Heirloom.
- Caper buds or berries both work in this recipe.
- You can skip on the red pepper flakes if you don’t want the sauce to have a spicy kick.
I hope you’ll love this Cod Provençal with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives recipe as much as I do! Serve it with rice, and be sure to have crusty bread on-hand for sopping up the beautiful sauce.
You may also like:
- Bordeaux-Style Fish Gratin (Poisson à la Bordelaise)
- Coq Au Vin Blanc
- Simple Chicken Marengo with Mushrooms
- Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Onion
2 tbsp (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and sliced in half rounds
2 large tomatoes (or 3 medium), ripened and diced into small cubes
6-7 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed (+ extra for garnish)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
15-20 black olives (preferably pitted)
10-15 caper berries (or 2 tbsp capers)
4 cod loins
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Step 1 - Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is slightly softened and translucent.
Step 2 - Add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt, and cook for 10-12 minutes (lid on), stirring occasionally until the tomato is soft.
Step 3 -Stir in the olives and capers.
Step 4 - On a clean working surface, drizzle the cod loins with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper on both side. Nestle in the cod loin in the pan, on top of the sauce. Garnish cod loins with tiny thyme sprigs (optional). Close the lid and cook for about 5 minutes, until the cod is just cooked through.
Season cod with salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste (optional). Serve immediately.
This recipe was first published on May 21, 2019. It was updated on May 1st, 2021 with new photos, more description and added step-by-step photos.