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    Mediterranean Fish with Tomato and Olive Tapenade

    Your favorite fish, in a Mediterranean avatar! Imagine a nice chunk of white fish, pan seared and top up with the goodness of this bright delicious tapenade. This looks and tastes like a gourmet entree, straight from some fine restaurant. But you will be amazed how quick it all comes together and how little effort it demands.

    Bonus point – There are very few tasty things healthier than this Mediterrnean style fish! Why not? It’s a keto dream, low carb, gluten free… chow down and over indulge without a teeny weeny bit of guilt!

    Overhead shot of two pieces of cooked fish topped with tapenade.

    What is the Mediterranean Diet?

    When you think the word “Mediterranean” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Blue azure waters, crispy clean air, vineyards, red wine… That’s how my thought train goes, and then stops at their food. Those vine ripe tomatoes, beautiful olives, oils and cheeses, and the tastiest fish in the seas. All this and more makes their cuisine so healthy, good for your brain and overall longevity.

    Yes folks, it’s accepted that one of the secrets behind the long enriching lives of the folks habitating this beautiful part of this planet is their diet. The beauty of their diet is that they use almost no processed food, instead favoring the freshest of produce and meats, an abundance of seafood, and a healthy dose of olive oil.

    The end result is some of the most delicious food with high health index factor. Life couldn’t be more perfect, right? Grab your favorite glass of wine and keep on reading to recreate this Mediterranean fish with warm olive and tomato tapenade.

    Side view of Mediterranean fish topped with tapenade.

    What is Tapenade?

    Tapenade is a provencal name for the hors d’oeuvre made mostly with finley chopped olives, capers and olive oil. Its name comes from the provencal word “tapenas” (pronounced ta’penos) for capers. Popular in the south of France, it’s mostly eaten as a spread or topping on crusty breads or crudites, but it goes great in some fish and poultry dishes. There are many different variations depending on the region. In fact we have a whole post dedicated to this tapenade on Gypsyplate if you browse a little in our categories. Today I am making a little more elaborate tapenade and using it as a topping for a beautifully cooked chunk of fish.

    Cooked tapenade in a small white pan.

    What kind of fish should I use?

    We are using Swordfish fillets tonight. It’s Jason’s favorite and the local fish market had some in fresh. It’s a matter of preference and also what is available at your local market. A lean white fish is ideal. Additionally, you want a nice thick piece, so a larger fish is best. In addition to swordfish, some top contenders are snapper, grouper, mahi mahi, cod and halibut.

    You need these goodies in your basket for this fancy meal

    Ingredients for tapenade arranged on a white background.
    • Fish
    • Cherry Tomatoes – I love my cherry tomatoes. You can use other tomatoes, but the flavor coming out of these minis is perfect in this dish.
    • Black and green olives – If you want to just one color of olive, that’s fine too
    • Capers – Always a hit with seafood.
    • Roasted red peppers – We are using canned roasted peppers. We love the extra touch they add to this tapenade.
    • Garlic – My staple in so many foods.
    • Lemon – Adds freshness and hint of tang.
    • Olive oil – Yum… plenty in that tapenade and some for frying your fish.
    • Flour, paprika, salt and pepper – To dredge the fish in.
    • Fresh herbs – We are using fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano since we always have them handy in our small herb corner. You can use dried herbs if fresh are not available. If you happen to have Herbs de Provence in your spice cabinet, that mix can replace the other herbs.

    This is super quick folks

    Chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers, olives and capers.

    Tapanade is a star here. To create this star quickly chop garlic, olives , capers, roasted red peppers and fresh herbs. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute cherry tomato halves and garlic for a couple of minutes on medium heat. When you smell those beautiful garlic aromas, add in roasted red peppers, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.

    Add your herbs and stir. Now is the time to add chopped olives and capers, along with a dash of lemon and some more olive oil and cook… easiness level 1.

    Collage showing above described steps to make tapenade.

    Mediterranean life is easy and it shows in their food. All you have to do is dredge your fish in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and a hint of paprika.

    Two pieces of swordfish dusted with salt, pepper and paprika.

    Then sear it in a pan with a little olive oil… easineness level 2.

    Piece of swordfish cooking in a cast iron skillet.

    Plate your fish and top it with your tasty tapenade. Garnish with fresh chives and lemon wedges… easiness level 3

    Side view of a nice slab of seared swordfish topped with tapenade.

    Tips for cooking perfect fish

    If your fish is frozen, first thaw it in the refrigerator. Bring it out and place on the countertop for 30 minutes to bring it closer to room temperature.

    Season the fish with salt and pepper before cooking, rather than afterwards. It enhances the flavor greatly, as the salt cooks with it.

    Now coming to actual cooking. You want the fish to be moist, soft and melt in your mouth, not rubbery and dry. Cooking time varies according to the thickness of the fillet or steak. 10 minutes of cooking time, turning halfway through, per inch thickness is a good guideline.

    You also want a fairly high temperature, so the outside nicely sears. If you are unsure if it’s done, you can check with your trusty meat thermometer. The FDA recommends 145°F, though many prefer it closer to 125°F.

    Overhead shot of the finished dish.

    Can I bake or grill this fish?

    Absolutely! Follow the same 10 minute per inch thickness guideline. Bake in an oven preheated to 400°F in a greased baking dish for the prescribed time. Or grill for 5 minutes each side per inch.

    Are you looking for some other sides to go out with this Mediterranean fish
    We think of it as a complete meal in itself. If you want something to accompany your fish, we think our Isreali couscous salad is “the” perfect side for this fish. You don’t need to cook veggies and carb separately, as it’s a combination of both.

    Some summer green bean salad also works great.

    You can have a side of some wild rice or brown rice. Other starch options are quinoa, freekeh or a small pasta like orzo.

    How long you can store it?

    We like to eat seafood fresh and finish it off on the same day. But if you do have leftovers they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

    You can go ahead and make a batch of tapenade in bulk and refrigerate it in an airtight container up to a week. It’s not only good on fish, but try it on your baked or grilled chicken. And it goes great as Bruschetta for appetizers. For many more ideas, see my olive tapenade post.

    Another overhead shot of this dish.

    Some of the beautiful things in life are so simple and easy. We just need to find these simple things and explore. The world is so beautiful! Thank You!

    Bookmark or pin this recipe, you’re going to love it!

    Ok, signing off tonight. Top up your wine glass and enjoy!!

    Mediterranean Fish with Tapenade, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Tapenade topped swordfish on the Gypsy plate.

    Try some of our other great seafood dishes!
    Spanish Garlic Shrimp
    Bahamian Boiled Fish
    Shrimp and Grits
    Baked Salmon with Mango Salsa
    Coconut Mussel Curry
    Cajun Shrimp Scampi
    Psari Plaki (Greek Baked Fish)
    Portuguese Mussels

    Mediterranean fish.

    Mediterranean Fish with Tomato and Olive Tapenade

    Yield: 2 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Give your fish a Mediterranean makeover with this tapenade topped beauty. So gourmet, yet so easy!


    • 1lb fish (see note 1)
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 cup cherry tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers
    • 1/2 cup black olives
    • 1/4 cup green olives
    • 1/4 cup capers
    • 1 lemon, half squeezed and half for garnish
    • 2 sprigs of rosemary
    • 7-8 sprigs of thyme
    • 3-4 sprigs of oregano
    • 2 Tbsp flour
    • Salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste



    1. Start by finely chopping olives, capers, roasted red peppers and garlic. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop fresh herbs.
    2. Heat all of olive oil, except for 2-3 tablespoons, in a pan over medium heat. Add in cherry tomato halves and garlic and give it a good stir. Cook till the garlic starts getting aromatic, about two minutes. Stir in chopped roasted bell peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the chopped herbs. Give it a mix. Add chopped olives and capers and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in a splash of lemon juice and drizzle a little bit more olive oil.


    1. Season fish with paprika, fresh cracked pepper and salt on both sides. and then dust it lightly with flour on both sides.
    2. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add fish and cook 10 minutes per inch thickness, turning halfway through.
    3. Plate the fish and top it generously with prepared tapenade. Garnish with some more fresh herbs and lemon wedges.


    1. We used swordfish, but snapper, grouper, cod, mahi mahi or halibut would work great.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 2 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 951Total Fat 70gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 56gCholesterol 129mgSodium 1521mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 8gSugar 6gProtein 64g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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