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Cooking with Fresh Herbs: Fish with Homemade Pesto Sauce

23420460_sOne of the secrets to delicious cooking is very easy, cook with fresh herbs.  Buying herbs in season is always the tastiest, but you will always find an ample supply of packaged fresh herbs in the produce section of Vince’s Market.

From basil and mint, to cilantro and parsley, nothing impresses your guests more than some fresh herbs and homemade sauces like this recipe for white fish with homemade pesto sauce.

I recently fell back in love with homemade pesto sauce.  I had forgotten how easy it is to make and how versatile it is.  You can use the sauce for pasta or pizza, but nothing picks up a dreary winter day like some homemade pesto sauce with fresh basil.

Basil as Traditional Medicine

Basil is actually part of the mint family.  There are over 40 different types of basil, including sweet, lemon, Thai and holy basil (also called Tulsi).  Basil has not only been used in cooking, but also in traditional medicine.  For instance, holy basil or Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in India as part of their traditional Ayurvedic medicine where it has been use to treat everything from stomach disorders to headaches and fever. Tulsi tea has been “rediscovered” lately for its health-giving effects and has become very popular and widely available at most health food stores.

The broad-leafed basil associated with Italian cooking has also been studied for its natural anti-microbial properties.  You see the delicious basil aroma that we smell in pesto sauce is caused by the aromatic chemicals in the plant (a combination of the phytonutrients linalool and methyl chavicol).  These are the compounds that give basil its ability to fight off bacteria and microbes in the body.

Basil has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties in the body.  Research has also shown that basil oil extracts lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.  These oils are being studied for their possible roles in preventing and treating Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease.

Fresh herbs are also a very nutritious addition to any meal.  They are full of naturally-occurring antioxidants.  In fact in the ORAC (anti-oxidant rating) scale, herbs are some of the highest on the list.  These include: oregano, thyme and sage which have scores at over 100,000!  For more info on the ORAC score of foods, click here to look up any of your favorite foods.

Fish with Homemade Pesto Sauce



2 lbs or 4 fillets of fresh whitefish (snapper, halibut or haddock)
Olive Oil (for cooking)
1 medium tomato

Pesto Sauce:

3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp lemon Juice
1 bunch basil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt


  1. In a food processor, combine all pesto sauce ingredients and pulse until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high heat.  Add fish fillets and pan-sear both sides until cooked thru (about 4-5 minutes per side).
  3. Serve fish with 3-4 tsp of pesto sauce on top and a slice of tomato.
  4. Goes well with rice or salad as a side dish.
click image to connect with Stephanie

click image to connect with Stephanie

Looking for some more recipe ideas with fresh herbs?  Why not try making some homemade salsa sauce for a Mexican fiesta night with your friends?  You could also try making a cilantro pesto sauce, just use the above recipe but substitute the basil with cilantro, and the pine nuts with sunflower seeds. It makes a great spread on bread or crackers.  Do you have any favorite recipes with fresh herbs? Share them with us! And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too, via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Happy New Year!


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  • I’ve never tried fish with pesto but it looks delicious. A sauce recipe coming from Chile I really like: the “salsa pebre”. Chop some tomatoes, white onions (you need to wash it once it’s sliced to sweeten it a little), green chillis and fresh coriander, mix it in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and it’s done. Awesome with grilled meats and fish !

  • Vince’s

    Thanks for feedback Joris, I will definitely have to try that “salsa pebre” recipe. Sounds delicious, it probably tastes great with nacho chips too.