Recipes   /   Spigola alla Trapanese – Sea Bass in Cherry Tomatoes and Olive Sauce

Spigola alla Trapanese – Sea Bass in Cherry Tomatoes and Olive Sauce

Jun 19, 2020 by Gabriele Corcos


We’ve always lived in places where seafood is plentiful and loved by the local cooks. Tuscany isn’t Sicily, we grant you, but it does have a coastline that keeps the citizens in good supply of fish. The sauce, which can be made in minutes, is a riff on the Southern Italian stalwart, puttanesca, but made with fresh cherry tomatoes. While this recipe calls for wild sea bass fillets, the pungent sauce would work with just about any fish, especially rich and oily varieties, such as mackerel or bluefish.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and minced

garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1∕2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped oil-cured black olives

2 tablespoons drained and chopped capers

1∕8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

ea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling pan and brushing fillets

4 wild sea bass fillets (about 6 ounces each)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving

1Heat the oil and anchovies in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the anchovies are sizzling and broken down into a paste, about 2 minutes.

2Add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown around the edges, about 1 minute.

3Stir in the olives, capers, and red pepper flakes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

4Cook, stirring occasionally, until the toma- toes begin to break down, about 10 minutes. Set the sauce aside.

5Oil a large ridged grilling pan and heat it over medium-high heat.

6Brush the sea bass on both sides with the oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the grill, skin side down, and grill until the underside is seared with grill marks, about 3 minutes.

7Flip the fish over and cook until the other side is seared and the flesh is opaque when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife, about 3 minutes more.

8Transfer each fillet to a dinner plate and top with a spoonful of the sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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