Cod Livornese is a Northern Italian seafood dish made with codfish smothered in a flavorful light tomato sauce made with crushed tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, and garlic. A No-fuss and super easy recipe, this cod livornese is a wonderful dish for seafood lover cooks, simply because dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes.
Livornese refers to the kind of sauce with this recipe, it is really a method for cooking fish, as a stew, which originated in Livorno, Tuscany, a port city on the Ligurian Sea, Italy.
They are known for their popular stewed seafood dishes.
Cod is a deep cold-water fish. It’s a white meaty fish with a mild flavor and loaded with nutrients. So when I decided to pick some up at the fish market today, I had in mind to make our mom’s recipe for her delicious Cod Livornese.
As kids, our mom always made fish weekly and would make cod at least twice each month. One of her classic cod dishes and happens to be our favorite too is her Fresh Cod Fish Salad.
It’s a seafood salad that is dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and served chilled. And, it’s delicious!
When looking to buy cod for this recipe, we recommend asking the fishmonger for a thicker or center cut of the fish. Codfish cooks up very quickly and a thicker cut works better with this recipe.
For this Livornese-style recipe, I am making it on stove-top, which is pretty darn easy as you will see.
So let’s get started!
How to Make Cod Livornese:
1. First, grab a cutting board, and start by prepping all the ingredients needed, such as capers, removing the pits from kalamata olives, then slice cloves of garlic and freshly chop the parsley.
2. Set them aside. This will speed up the cooking process once you get started.
3. Open the package of cod, and depending on its size, if it is too long in size, you may cut it in half if you need to. Next, season the cod with some salt and black pepper.
4. Then, use a large 10-inch deep heavy skillet. Saute the garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute, add in the cod, sear the cod for 1 minute.
5. Pour in the white wine and allow it to reduce a little.
6. Finally, toss in the capers, olives, fresh parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Stirring the sauce occasionally. Taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Codfish will appear opaque and will be delicate.
7. Use a spatula to carefully remove cod and transfer it to a serving plate. Then spoon the Livornese sauce over the fish and serve.
Codfish is delicate and flaky when fully cooked. It’s best to use a large spatula as you transfer it to a plate. Also, you may spoon as much Livornese sauce or as little over the fish, as desired.
As you can see, I prefer mine smothered in the tomato sauce! For me, the more sauce, the better the fish will taste with every bite!
OH, and don’t forget to have some crusty Italian bread nearby to scoop up some of that fragrant flavorful sauce. It’s so good!!
This recipe for Livornese is adaptable to tilapia, snapper, and even Dover sole. Codfish happens to be the least expensive fish you can buy. Give it a try!
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More Cod Fish Recipes! … try these:
And try another recipe for Livornese, our Dover Sole Livornese!
- 8-ounce ( 1/2 pound) clean cod
- 3 garlic cloves - sliced
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. capers
- 5 to 6 kalamata olives - pitted and sliced
- 2/3 cup white wine
- bunch of freshly chopped parsley, and extra for garnish
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes with liquid ( or 1 cup marinara sauce)
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Season cod with some salt and black pepper.
- In a large 10-inch deep non-stick skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and toss in the garlic. Saute garlic for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in the codfish and sear cod for 1 minute. Pour in the white wine, and allow the wine to reduce a little, about 1 to 2 minutes until it softens.
- Toss in the capers, fresh parsley, kalamata olives, crushed red pepper flakes, and crushed tomatoes.
- Cover with the lid, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce with Cod for about 5 to 8 minutes. Codfish should turn opaque and be fully cooked. Taste the tomato sauce, and adjust if needed, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Using a large spatula, carefully transfer fish to a serving plate, spoon sauce over the fish. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley on top. Serve immediately.
- Serves 1 to 2
Always remember, cooking times will vary depending upon thickness of the fish. And as with all recipes, make this your own and adjust the amounts of salt and pepper to your taste! Enjoy!