I still can remember the first time I ever tasted a kalamata olive. I was living in Atlanta and dining at one of my favorite restaurants, Fratelli di Napoli, where, several years later, we’d have our rehearsal dinner! I can remember thinking that olive was just perfect. Salty and briny and the most delightful accompaniment to the crusty Italian bread, roasted red peppers, and cheeses with which it was served. As a single, twenty-something foodie, living in a city where fantastic restaurants were popping up daily, it seemed like I discovered a new favorite ingredient every weekend! I had a ball experimenting with those ingredients in my own kitchen, trying to replicate the flavors I was discovering.
This dish is one that would have fueled my love affair with kalamata olives! (Especially once I learned you could buy them already pitted! BIG idea there.) This is quick enough for weeknight cooking and really delicious. You could serve it over rice or with some warm crusty bread for dipping. Don’t skimp on the olives; they make the dish!
Spicy Mediterranean Seafood Saute
Adapted from Bon Appetit, 2002
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds tilapia, red snapper, or orange roughy fillets – any mild white fish will do
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (1/2 teaspoon might be too spicy if you are serving this to little ones)
4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (remember, you can buy them already pitted! BIG time saver)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1. Rinse fish under running water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Combine cherry tomatoes, olives, and garlic in a medium bowl.
3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the fish to the skillet and saute until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining fish.
4. Add tomatoes, olives, garlic, parsley and crushed red pepper to the skillet; saute until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 2 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.