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Crispy-Skin Fish with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Crispy-Skin Fish with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce



  • 2 pt. cherry tomatoes

  • ¼ cup large capers, drained

  • About 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper

  • ½ cup chopped mixed fresh tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, and chives


  • 2 tbsp. refined olive oil (light in color and flavor) or safflower oil

  • 4 skin-on fish fillets (about 6 oz. each; such as black bass, branzino, or red snapper), patted very dry

  • Salt and pepper

  • ½ cup dry (white) vermouth or white wine

  • 2 tbsp. butter

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tbsp.)

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • Crusty bread, for serving


Step 1

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, garlic, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet. Roast until the tomatoes begin to burst and char in spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Return the vegetables to the bowl and toss with the mixed fresh herbs.

Step 2

For the fish, in a medium cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet, heat the refined olive oil over medium-high to high. Score the skin on each fish fillet 1 to 2 times; season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the fish in the pan, skin-side down, and cook, pressing down on the fish with a spatula to prevent the skin from curling, until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until just opaque in the centers, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the vermouth to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts. Off heat, whisk in the lemon juice and Dijon; season the sauce.

Step 3

Place the fish on plates. Serve with the mustard butter, roasted tomatoes, and bread.