Italian Style White Fish in Tomato Basil ‘Broth’

by Susan Smith in ,

Ever since I started to teach my daughter Sarah to cook a knock ‘em dead tomato sauce for the televised Junior Master Chef finals, I have been searching for tinned tomatoes without citric acid. Tinned tomatoes with citric acid do exactly what they say on the tin. They taste ‘acid’, which means having to add sugar to balance out their flavour, which isn’t ideal.

Sainsbury’s So Organic tinned tomatoes used to be good to go until quite recently when, without warning, the labelling changed showing that they too had succumbed to adding what I consider the unwelcome ‘acidity regulator’ used by most brands.

So, I say hurrah for Mr Organic! Although their tinned tomatoes cost a little more, they have no additives and are much the better for it. I buy mine in bulk from Ocado and have them delivered to my door.  

This dish can be prepared, cooked and on the table within half an hour. 

Italian Style White Fish in Tomato Basil ‘Broth’ (Serves 2)


2 x 225g (2 x ½ pound) sustainably sourced white fish fillets, skinned and boned - e.g. haddock, hake, cod 

125g (4½ oz - drained weight) buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced 

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

400g (⅔ cup) tinned organic whole plum tomatoes

10g (2 tbsp) fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1-2 drops liquid Stevia* - optional

Sprigs of whole leaf basil, to serve



If not already done by your fishmonger, remove the skin and bones from the fish fillets (I prefer tail-end fillets because they don’t have any bones to remove!) then season each piece of fish generously with a pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large lidded oven-proof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion to the pan and give it a quick stir to distribute the olive oil evenly, then cover the pan and cook for 8 minutes over a low heat until the onions are soft but not coloured.

Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan, roughly breaking them up with a wooden spoon into a sauce-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, then add a drop or two of liquid Stevia if you think it tastes too tart. Finally, add the shredded basil, stir well, then put the lid back on the pan and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. 

Re-check the seasoning of the sauce at the end of this cooking time and adjust as necessary. 

Take the pan off the heat, remove the pan lid and lay the fish fillets skinned side down, on top of the tomato sauce. Note: If you’re using fish tail fillets tuck the ends under so that the pieces are of uniform thickness for cooking. Cover with the pan lid.

Put the fish and tomato sauce back on a low heat and simmer gently for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat your oven grill to high.

After the 6 minutes, take the pan off the heat and lay the mozzarella slices over the top of each fillet of fish to cover. 

Place the pan under the grill for 2-3 minutes until the the mozzarella is meltingly soft.

Using a couple of fish slices, carefully place the fish fillets in the middle of 2 warmed plates, spooning the tomato broth all around. Top each with a sprig of basil and serve.  


Carbohydrate 15g Protein 51g - per portion


*Although I generally favour natural unprocessed sweeteners such as raw organic honey, maple syrup and raw coconut palm sugar for baking, pure liquid stevia is a useful zero carb / zero calorie sweetener for sauces, tea and green smoothies. I buy mine from here. It may seem expensive, but because you’re only using a drop or two at a time, one bottle lasts for ages.