Pan-Seared Fish with Spicy Pesto Vinaigrette

One of the many great things about living in the West is the availability of fresh produce all year long. Trader Joe’s, for instance, carries a large container of fresh basil leaves for around two bucks and, believe me, it’s a better buy than their “Two-Buck Chuck” wine. If your market doesn’t carry bulk herbs, this recipe may cost you a few extra bucks, but it’s worth it. Use as many red pepper flakes as you can handle to give your dish some zing.

Pan-Seared Fish with Spicy Pesto Vinaigrette


  • 1 1/2 pounds fish fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 gloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons almonds cashews or pine nuts, lightly browned and chopped
  • pinch or two red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 4 cups cooked warm pasta your choice


  • Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fish and brown on both sides until just cooked. Remove fish from pan and keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine and lemon juice to pan. Reduce liquid to 2 – 3 tablespoons. Add garlic, basil, almonds and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, mustard and sugar. Whisk in remaining olive oil in a very thin stream. Remove from heat and blend in cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and, if desired, a little more sugar. Place pasta on plates and top with warm fish, tomato and a drizzle of vinaigrette.


No basil? Try it with parsley and/or cilantro for something a little different

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