Pan-Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto

5 from 1 vote

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A fish filet gets all gussied up. This pesto is salty and chunky and you'll want to find all kinds of ways to use it.

Pan Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /
Pan Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

Now, this is a pretty fish! Mix up the colors of the peppers to make the dish even more visually appealing. And use whatever fish is freshest. You could also use salmon instead of a white fish for even more color on the plate. Roasted potatoes, Crispy Sauteed Potatoes, or rice would be a nice addition.

Can we discuss kids and fish for a minute? A few yeas ago I did a video survey where I asked a couple of dozen parents outside of a supermarket what dish they wished their kids would eat more of, what was the biggest challenge. The predictable answer: fish.

So how do you get your kids to eat more fish? Or any fish? This was one of the topics I discussed on the Splendid Table with Melissa Clark around the same time. You basically have to keep moving forward like a shark. There is no choice.

There are so many ebbs and flows. Every time you think you have something conquered — your kid eats fish and you think, “Well that’s done, my kid like fish now” — then sure enough a week later they are scrunching their nose up at the very same dish.

So it’s really about what kind of fish you pick (important), how fresh it is (seriously important), what you marinate the fish in, what you serve it with, and how you serve it (hint: not in a huge slab).

Pan Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto / Katie Workman /

My kids happen to love olives, and all things salty. So this relish was a pretty easy sell for them. The capers get pretty chopped up, as sometimes they can be a red flag for Jack and Charlie — and Gary. They THINK they don’t like capers, but they actually do; same with anchovies. (I know I love them.)  So if they are minced in a sauce they work for everyone. But truth is, my kids still might just pick at the cooked peppers regardlessof the seasonings….depending on their mood and how hungry they are.

As I served these up I also realized that if you flaked the fish and combined it with the peppers, you would have a great soft taco filling, topped with the olive relish. And my family loves tacos, including fish tacos.

A thought for another day.

More Fish Recipes for Dinner:

5 from 1 vote

Pan-Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto

A fish filet gets all gussied up. This pesto is salty and chunky and you'll want to find all kinds of ways to use it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppersred
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 leaves fresh basil slivered
  • ½ cup pitted good olives black, green or a combination
  • 1 tablespoon capers rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 6-ounce pieces flounder barramundi, tilapia, cod, or other mild white fish
  • 1 lemon cut into 4 wedges


  • Core, seed, halve and thinly slice the peppers.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and the onions and sauté for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned in spots and tender. Stir in the garlic, season with salt and pepper and sauté for one more minute. Stir in the basil, turn the pepper mixture onto a plate, and carefully wipe out the hot pan.
  • While the peppers are cooking, in a mini food processor combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, the olives and the capers. Pulse to combine into a nicely chopped paste. Pulse in the parsley.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pan you cooked the peppers in over medium high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sear for about 4 minutes on each side, without moving it around too much, until browned and cooked through.
  • Transfer the fish to individual plates. Place some of the sautéed peppers and a spoonful of the relish on the side or top of the fish, squeeze one of the lemon quarters over each piece of fish (or let the diners do this), and serve hot. You can also place all of the fish, peppers, and relish on a serving platter with the lemon wedges and let people help themselves.


This is the perfect type of recipe to get your kids to try fish. Mine love salty things so the pesto helps them get used to the new flavor of fish.


Calories: 1082kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 113g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 405mg, Sodium: 3000mg, Potassium: 1990mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 656IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 242mg, Iron: 4mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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