Mediterranean Pan Seared Cod Recipe

5 from 1 vote

This recipe for pan seared cod is a Mediterranean wonder for dinner. Featuring the best flavors of the region, this recipe boasts succulent cod, juicy ripe tomatoes, briny olives, aromatic basil leaves, and more. 

closeup: Mediterranean pan seared cod on a white plate with tomatoes and olives

Today’s cod recipe is another gift from the rich, robust world of Mediterranean Cuisine. Communities in the region have depended on the Mediterranean Sea for sustenance for countless generations. It’s no surprise then, that they have become masters at the art of preparing seafood — and this pan seared cod is proof.

The ingredients included in this recipe are simple yet potently flavorful. Pan searing the cod helps accentuate its natural sweetness before it is bathed in a vibrant mix of tomatoes, olives, lemon, white wine, basil, and red pepper. Plus, this dish comes together in just under 30 minutes. Buon appetito!

closeup: pan seared cod on a white plate with tomatoes, olives, and herbs

For more marvelous Mediterranean meal ideas, check out my Greek Shrimp Saganaki, Lentil Lamb Meatballs and Lemon Rice, and Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cod – Cod is prized for its mildly sweet, delicate flavor and its moist, meaty flesh. Be sure to buy boneless and skinless filets for ease of cooking. 
  • Kosher Salt Enhances and harmonizes all the flavors in the dish without overwhelming saltiness.
  • Black Pepper – Perks up the recipe with a sharp, piney, peppery punch. 
  • Olive Oil – Adds a robustness that makes this cod recipe truly Mediterranean.  
  • Cherry Tomatoes Give the dish a vibrant dash of sweet acidity and a beautiful red color. Plum-style or grape tomatoes make great substitutes. 
  • Black Olives – Offer varied texture and a fruity, briny, almost sweet flavor. 
  • Lemon – Brightens up the recipe with a vibrant splash of citrus flavor. You’ll use the zest and the juice for this recipe. 
  • White Wine – A dry white wine adds acidity and a concentrated savory sweetness when cooked. If you prefer an alcohol-free alternative, use an equal amount of chicken broth with a splash of apple cider vinegar. 
  • Basil Leaves – Adds a fresh, uniquely sweet and savory flavor with hints of mint and licorice.
  • Red Pepper Flakes Gives the cod just the right amount of zesty heat.
overhead: cooking tomatoes, olives, and herbs in a large skillet

How to Make My Mediterranean Pan Seared Cod Recipe

  1. Zest & Season. Zest the lemon, then put the zest in a bowl along with the sliced cherry tomatoes and black olives. Use a teaspoon of kosher salt and black pepper to season both sides of the cod. 
  2. Make the Sauce. Place a skillet over medium-high heat along with a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add the garlic and saute for one minute before tossing in the lemon zest, olives, sliced tomatoes, white wine, and the juice from half of the lemon. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring to combine as the tomatoes break down and sauce thickens. Stir in the other teaspoon of salt, plus half each of the red pepper flakes and basil leaves, and cook for another minute. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. 
  3. Sear the Cod. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the cod filets and cook until golden brown. It usually takes 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  
  4. Add the Sauce. Carefully pour the tomato and olive sauce over the pan seared cod. Heat for at least a minute, sprinkle with the remaining basil, and serve immediately.
overhead: a plate full of Mediterranean pan seared cod with olives, tomatoes, and herbs

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cod better in the oven or pan seared?

Cod can be baked, broiled, grilled, or steamed — all with delicious results. However, pan seared cod stands out from the rest. The high heat used during searing forms a scrumptiously crispy, golden brown crust on the fish that keeps the inside moist and tender. 

If you are making a baked cod recipe, I still recommend quickly searing your cod on each side before popping it in the oven. It’s optional, of course, but a 2-minute sear on each side will make a huge difference in flavor and texture. 

How do you know when pan seared cod is done?

Cooking times will vary slightly depending on the thickness of your filets, but there are a few easy ways to make sure cod is cooked. 

You want the flesh of the cod to be opaque throughout and to easily flake when prodded with a fork. In addition, you can use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the filet. Your cod recipe is complete when the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.

What to serve with this Mediterranean cod recipe?

Mediterranean pan seared cod pairs perfectly with a number of side dishes. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Greek Lemon Rice, Spinach Rice, or your favorite rice recipe
Mediterranean Couscous, quinoa, or other grain dish
– Pasta noodles with pesto or complimentary sauce of your choice
– Veggie sides like Crispy Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, or Greek Roasted Vegetables
Lebanese Fattoush, Tabouli Salad, or any fresh salad you prefer

extreme closeup: pan seared cod with tomatoes, olives, and herbs

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Mediterranean Pan Seared Cod Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This easy Mediterranean pan seared cod recipe boasts juicy ripe tomatoes, briny olives and aromatic basil leaves in a delish wine pan sauce.
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 28 minutes



  • Place the sliced tomatoes, olives and zest from the lemon in a bowl. Season the cod on both sides with 1 tsp kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, olives, lemon zest and juice from half the lemon (save remaining half for other use) and wine. Stir and cook 5 minutes as tomatoes break down and sauce reduces and thickens. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, 1/2 the basil and red pepper flakes, cook another minute. Season to taste if needed. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, set aside.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and cook the cod on both sides over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness of fish, until golden brown.
  • Pour tomato olive mixture over pan seared cod and heat through a minute. Serve immediately with remaining basil sprinkled on top.


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 2045mg | Potassium: 1108mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 726IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: main dishes
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): Mediterranean pan-seared cod recipe


I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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  1. Hi Kevin

    I just watched your cod recipe, it is Wednesday in Toronto, this Cod recipe will be made on Friday.

    Just a little smile for you it is not often that I will see a “south paw ” chef, I too use my left hand.

    Wherever you are have a great day