Portuguese-Style Fish 2.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Apr 2, 2019

Whole fish baked in a spicy red sauce is a dish you can find at seaside restaurants in Portugal. Here, using fish fillets speeds up the process. A little wine is called for, which is not in the Dinner in Minutes Pantry; red wine vinegar or juices from the tomatoes can be used instead. But we’re hoping you have some on hand, because it enhances the flavor.

Serve with crusty bread.

2 - 3

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Tested size: 2-3 servings

  • 12 ounces skinned cod fillets (may substitute other white-fleshed fish fillets, such as sea bass or flounder)
  • About 6 red pearl onions
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • One 14-ounce can no-salt-added whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine (optional; may substitute juices from the tomatoes OR 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar)
  • A few stems fresh thyme, plus more fresh leaves for garnish (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Flaky salt, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Defrost the fish and pat it dry, as needed.

Trim and peel the onions; cut each one into thin slices. Stem and seed the jalapeño, then mince. Mince the garlic; combining the vegetables on on the cutting board as you cut them is okay. Cut each of the tomatoes into 6 chunks.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet until shimmering over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook for about 8 minutes, until mostly translucent. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño; cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, if using, and thyme. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, then uncover and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste, and season with sea salt and pepper, as needed.

Pat dry the fish fillets, if you haven’t already. Coat them on both sides with the remaining teaspoon of oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Cut them into chunks and place them, skinned sides down, on top of the sauce in the pan, then transfer to the oven. Roast (middle rack) for 10 minutes, or just until the fish is firmer and opaque.

Discard the thyme stems. Drizzle with oil, scatter fresh thyme leaves on top, sprinkle with flaky salt and serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Dinner in Minutes: Memorable Meals in Minutes for Busy Cooks,” by Linda Gassenheimer (Houghton Mifflin, 1995 edition). CORRECTION: A previously published version of this recipe gave an incorrect total time. It is 40 minutes, not 20 minutes.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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