Baked fish in tomato sauce

6 servings Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 55 mins

By Bianca Jones July 01 2020
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Ingredients (19)

1 tbsp olive oil — or avocado oil
2 onions — chopped
2 garlic cloves — crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger — grated
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 carrots — grated
2 x 410 g tinned tomatoes — chopped or whole
2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
5 tbsp fresh herbs — chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp soft brown sugar
lemon juice — to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper — to taste
1 kg line fish — cut into portions
2 tsp olive oil — or avocado oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper — to taste
fresh Italian parsley — or oregano, to serve
1 lemon — cut in wedges, to serve
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For the sauce:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté onions and garlic until soft.

Add ginger, fennel seeds (if using) and carrots and sauté for a few more minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, dried and fresh herbs, bay leaf, vinegar and sugar.

Simmer without a lid over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until flavourful and thickened slightly. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend with a hand blender.

At this stage, the sauce can be cooled and frozen to be used at later stage.

For the fish:

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spoon a layer of the sauce into an oven dish. Brush oil over the fish and season to taste.

Place fish in the sauce in the oven dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is golden brown and just-cooked. It should flake easily with a fork. Take care not to over-cook the fish as it will become dry.

Serve the fish and sauce with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, a starch of your choice, like couscous, and green veggies or a salad.


  1. The same method can be used to cook chicken breast fillets. Or try cooking meatballs in the oven or in a frying pan in the same way.
  2. Parmigiana – an Italian side dish made with this kind of tomato sauce and brinjal – is divine. Sauté the brinjals, sliced, in a thin layer of oil. Pack brinjal slices in layers with the sauce and sprinkle 125 ml (½ cup) grated mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 200°C for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
  3. For a quick vegetarian meal, stir a tin of chickpeas and cooked butternut into the tomato sauce.
  4. Frozen fish works just as well with this recipe. Place frozen fish portions in an oven dish with the sauce as described above. Most frozen fish should be cooked from frozen and not thawed first, but check the instructions on the packaging. The cooking time for frozen fish may vary depending on how thick the portions are.

Reprinted with permission from Heleen Meyer. For more recipes, have a look at her website or follow on Instagram | Facebook.. Photography by Adel Ferreira.

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