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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