Easy Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

Easy Whitefish with Burst Tomatoes and Basil recipe

Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes is possibly the simplest summer meal on the planet ~ the jewel toned tomatoes burst their skins and create an instant sauce for the fish, with a pop of fresh flavor from the lemon and basil ~ it’s delicious and it’s ready in 15 minutes.

The cast of characters for this broiled whitefish recipe couldn’t be simpler ~

  • fish
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil (or butter, if you prefer)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemons
  • basil.

The cherry tomatoes burst under the broiler and provide just enough fresh juice to bathe the fish with their sweet/tangy flavor. You can hit it with a splash of white wine at the end if you like. There’s no heavy sauce or seasonings in this dish, but the combination of fresh fish cooked just to the flaking point, the tomato juices, and the just plucked leaves of basil is about as good as it gets.

TIP:  Don’t slice the cherry tomatoes, they will naturally burst their skins as their juices heat up. The interior of the tomatoes gets super heated so be careful when you bite into them!

Most nights I get up from my computer at 5:30, and head to the treadmill for 30 minutes. I know I should do more but I get bored ever since they moved Ina and Giada from that time slot 😉  So that means I start dinner at 6 pm, and my goal is 30 minutes from prep to table. The prep on this whitefish with burst cherry tomatoes might be the easiest one I’ve ever shared on  the blog ~ perfect for a busy night. The variety of quick healthy meals you can make with fish is astonishing…my FISH WITH BLOOD ORANGE AND THYME is ready in minutes, and it’s gorgeous to boot. Ditto my SIMPLE GREEK STYLE BAKED FISH or SALMON WITH PINEAPPLE JALAPENO SALSA.

For this whitefish recipe you’ll need a pan that can go from stove top to broiler.

I like a good heavy stainless steel skillet because it cooks the fish evenly and withstands the high heat of the broiler.

The secret to getting a good crust on the bottom of the fish that doesn’t stick to the pan

Leave it alone! Let it sear on medium high for several minutes, until you start to see the fish starting to cook along the sides (see the above photo.)  Then slide it under the broiler to finish cooking.

Literally any fish will work for this recipe, I could have bought salmon, swordfish, cod, halibut, trout, or tilapia. I bet lots of you have other local fish that would work great, I usually shop by price, and that naturally keeps us trying a variety of fish, which is a plus.

I love getting back to simple, unadorned flavors in the warmer weather!

What is purple basil?

  • Purple basil is a variety developed back in the 1950s, and you can use it in the same ways you use green basil. It’s sometimes called Opal Basil.
  • It has a slightly more assertive aroma and anise flavor.
  • Purple basil gets its color from the same anthocyanin pigments that I talked about in my last post about BLUEBERRY LEMONADE. They’re also in raspberries, red cabbage, and red onions.
  • Purple basil can be hard to find, so I recommend freezing it when you do find it. Just wash and dry the leaves, then pack them in good quality zip lock freezer bags.
3.71 from 24 votes

Easy Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes is possibly the simplest summer meal on the planet ~ it's delicious and it's ready in 15 minutes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 fillets of whitefish or any fish you like, about a pound to a pound and a half
  • 1 pint multi-colored cherry tomatoes rinsed
  • 1 lemon cut in small wedges
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine optional
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves green, purple, or both!
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced dill
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  • Turn the broiler on high, and set the rack on the highest setting.
  • Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and set aside.
  • In a broiler safe skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add the fish fillets, skin side down, and cook for about 3-5 minutes, without moving them, until you start to see them browning on the bottom, and the fish starting to cook and turn white along the sides.
  • Add about half of the tomatoes to the pan, along with the lemon wedges, and put under the broiler for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the fish just flakes and the tomatoes are bursting.
  • Note: You can do the tomatoes separately on the stove top in a skillet if you like, just toss them around for a few minutes over medium high heat until they start to burst. Then add to the fish just before serving.
  • Hit the pan with a splash of white wine, if using, season with salt and pepper, and serve, garnished with lots of fresh basil leaves and dill scattered over the top.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it Your Own ~

  • Plain red cherry tomatoes and green basil would be just as spectacular in this dish.
  • Try this with shrimp or scallops.
  • Instead of garnishing with basil leaves, try drizzling the fish with a thinned down PESTO SAUCE or a CHIMICHURRI SAUCE.


Don’t forget to pin this healthy and easy Whitefish with Burst Tomatoes!

Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 15, 2019 at 4:02 am

    5 stars
    Fantastic! It’s both an easy recipe with complex flavor and a healthy meal that tastes rich.
    My entire family really enjoyed it.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2019 at 7:30 am

      I’m thrilled Daphne, this is one of my personal faves. I’ve always loved cherries, but this meal uses them in such a different way. Wish I had it for dinner tonight 🙂

  • Reply
    Wayne Ahern
    October 18, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    What are you referring to when you say broiler

    • Reply
      October 19, 2018 at 10:50 am

      I’m referring to the broiler setting in the oven, Wayne.

  • Reply
    Susan Cavalieri
    July 16, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    5 stars
    Made this tonight with delicious cod. My husband and I both loved it. The lemon wasn’t mentioned so I assumed it was to squeeze on after playing. Yum. We made the Mediterranean salmon last week and it was a huge hit. My husband went crazy and said he could eat it every night! Lol. Thank you for all these amazing recipes Sue!!

    • Reply
      July 16, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks Susan, and isn’t it so nice when you love something that’s also so healthy? The lemon was inadvertently left out of the instructions, so I added it back. I actually put it right in the broiler with the fish and tomatoes, it gets a nice char and the heat makes it extra juicy.

  • Reply
    Supriya Kutty
    June 12, 2017 at 4:06 am

    First i thought this recipe would be tough in making but after reading your recipe i got some confidence to prepare this. Soon i am gonna make this with your help.

    • Reply
      June 12, 2017 at 7:40 am

      It is one of the easier recipes on the blog, Supriya ~ but surprisingly delicious, I hope you like it.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2017 at 12:03 am

    This is exactly the kind of summer meal I crave. Simple yet flavorful and healthy to boot! Cannot beat that combo.

  • Reply
    June 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    what a gorgeous meal, I can only imagine the amazing flavor of the oven burst tomatoes when added to the whitefish. This pic should be on a magazine cover.

  • Reply
    zouhair fiorino najjar
    June 10, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Hi..Interesting mouthwatering recipe..shared to my social media accounts..

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