Tilapia with Tomato, Olive & Caper Sauce

Confession time. I have a love-hate relationship with fish. What I mean is I love it when someone else cooks it. I hate trying to cook it myself at home.

Maybe it’s the southern in me, but the only way I’ve ever prepared really tasty fish at home is deep frying. You give me a few fish, some cornmeal, grease and a frying pan and I’m in business. Baking, broiling, stove top cooking with fish has usually meant disaster for me. Just never turned out “right.” You know? It was either over cooked, under cooked or just plain not good. That is…until I tried this recipe.

I’m using tilapia in this, but I feel sure it would work with other fish as well. To my taste, tilapia is about as boring a fish as there is, but combine it with this luscious sauce and it becomes something pretty fantastic. And speaking of the sauce! I can’t explain why, but this sauce just tastes like summer to me. The combination of tomatoes with garlic, olives, capers and wine puts me in mind of vacationing in some beautiful, sunny Mediterranean location.

To make this lovely, and healthy, Tilapia with Tomato, Olive, and Caper Sauce for yourself, you’ll start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let it warm for 2 or 3 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and diced tomatoes with all their juices. Cook and stir that mixture until the tomatoes start to soften.

Then add the olives, capers, tomato paste and wine. Stir it well, lower the heat a bit and cook it covered for 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Dry the fillets with a paper towel and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet, spooning the sauce over and around all the fillets. Cover the pan and cook until the fish is flaky and done throughout.

I served this with some very tiny red potatoes that had been steamed and tossed in butter, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. A rice pilaf would be very good as well.


Tilapia with Tomato, Olive & Caper Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tomatoes, garlic, olives and capers give a Mediterranean flair to Tilapia
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 tblsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1/3 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 2 tblsp. capers
  • 1 tblsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ pounds Tilapia fillets
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes with their juices.
  3. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften.
  4. Add the green olives, capers, tomato paste and wine.
  5. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the fillets to the skillet, spooning some of the sauce over the fish.
  7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
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— Adapted from a Public Apron’s Meals recipe

Other recipes using tilapia you might enjoy from around the internet:

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  1. says

    Lana, I use to be the same way, now that’s not saying my mouth don’t water when thinking ’bout a big ol’ plate of fried brim or catfish, but I have found to ‘like’ other ways too….I like grilling, baking and sautéing the best, broiling to me is a little hard sometimes, esp when I’m not paying attention…
    This recipe sounds right up my alley, like the capers and olives working with the wine and acids…

    • says

      The very reason I wanted to try this recipe, Drick, was for the capers. I love those little things! So briny and salty and good.

  2. says

    This really appeals to me, looks and sounds delicious. :)
    I am the opposite, I love to cook fish and seafood but hate to heat up a pan of oil to fry it (so I rarely do!).

    • says

      Shelby, I’m really trying to like fish cooked other ways than fried. I think a really tasty, rich sauce like this is the key to that.

  3. says

    THAT is a GORGEOUS dish my friend; i’m the opposite when it comes to fish – prefer it unbreaded and either grilled or baked so am in love with this Lana!

    • says

      I don’t think I’ll ever totally give up my old-fashioned fried catfish, but I’m trying to cook in more healthful ways these days. Gotta experiment with grilling next. Maybe some rainbow trout, huh?

  4. Kay says

    Will this recipe work in the oven? I need a recipe for a large number of people and this sounds great… Would love any feedback


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