Pan-Seared Fish with Basil Oil & Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

If you have a lot of basil, double the oil for this pan-seared fish recipe. It doesn't take any more time to make and it's delicious whisked into dressings, drizzled over grilled vegetables and used to make garlic bread. The same technique works well for lots of other herbs, too—think: tarragon, parsley, chives.

Pan-Seared Fish with Basil Oil & Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
Photo: Eva Kolenko
Active Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • ¾ cup fresh basil stems and leaves, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

  • 2 pounds skin-on halibut or salmon, cut into 6 pieces


  1. Separate basil leaves from stems. Chop the leaves and set aside. Heat the stems, garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat just until you start to see bubbles form around the stems and garlic. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a small bowl (discard the stems and garlic).

  2. Cut half the cherry tomatoes in half. Heat 1 tablespoon of the basil oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the halved and whole cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins blister and the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 1/4 cup chopped basil, 1/4 cup basil oil, vinegar, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; gently stir to combine.

  3. Wipe the pan clean. Gently pat fish dry and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the basil oil in the pan over medium heat. Add half the fish, skinned-side down. Cook until a little more than halfway cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the flesh is opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining fish and 1 tablespoon basil oil. Serve the fish with the cherry tomato vinaigrette and sprinkled with the remaining chopped basil.

To make ahead

Refrigerate basil oil (Step 1) for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

321 Calories
21g Fat
3g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 321
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 29g 58%
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Vitamin A 636IU 13%
Sodium 426mg 19%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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