Recipe for Fried Fish with Fresh Lemon Garlic Pesto (No Carbs!)

August 24, 2009 · 25 comments

fish with pesto Kent & I came up with this fish recipe today and both agreed that it was the best fish we’ve ever had, including what we’ve eaten in restaurants.  This is quite amazing, considering we only just recently began eating more fish (Kent never used to like it much), and whenever we tried it in the past, I always bombed miserably.  (Read about my very first success with fish fried in tallow.) After making pesto Saturday, we were both still in the mood for more…wait until you take in the aroma, and when you taste it, you’ll be amazed at the perfect blend of flavors with the fish.  It’s got ZERO carbs, too!  (Something I only just realized, hours after eating it, that’s how good it was.)


  • First we grabbed these herbs from out back:

IMG_36761.  A small handful of lemon balm leaves (I LOVE having that and our own mint leaves right in our yard!) – check out all the benefits in these leaves from this Wikipedia link!  (If you don’t have any, just omit this and add a couple extra squeezes of lemon juice.) 2.  A small handful of parsley. (About 1/2 cup of leaves.) IMG_3672 3. IMG_3655 2 large handfuls of basil.  (Sorry for these measurements, but it really doesn’t have to be exact at all.)  About 1 1/2 cups of leaves.

  • IMG_3657I ground them up in our mini food processor (in small batches) and then added the following:
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 t. sea salt (if you double the batch, taste it before doubling the salt)

A huge bunch of herbs grinds up to only make this much in the bowl:IMG_3664 But with the other ingredients the amounts were perfect.  (More on that below.)

  • Meanwhile, fry fish (find safe, healthy seafood here) in plenty of butter, seasoned with sea salt and pepper.  It just hit me – I wonder how this would be baked in a generously buttered pan…this way you wouldn’t have to stand over the stove and you could make more of it for a bigger crowd much more easily.  (UPDATE:  We tried this with shrimp and it was just as tasty!)
  • Serve the pesto with the fish and dig in!IMG_3668

If you try it, let us know what you think!  :) Note:  we had about 10 pieces of medium sized Tilapia, and the amount of pesto above was perfect for our family of 6…keep in mind that the three youngest only ate the fish, though.  Why is it that kids often can’t get over the color green in their food?

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    { 24 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship August 24, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Maybe hubby will eat this…he’s only started eating fish the last year or so. Usually I slice them thinly and coat with cornmeal and lots of cayenne and some other spices so it’s less fish, more flavor! :)


    2 Musings of a Housewife August 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Oh we love fish. YUM. I always bread my tilapia, but I like the ease of just frying it in butter. And that pesto looks amazing. I must try this!

    So if I don’t have lemon balm or whatever it is, should I squeeze lemon juice in the pesto? Omigosh, I Just re-read and you said that. DUH. Making that this week!


    3 Martha August 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Looks great! I’ll have to try this later this week on the bass my hubby and oldest brought home on Saturday. I’ll pick up the basil form the CSA tomorrow. :)


    4 Meagan August 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    This sounds so tasty- fish and butter!


    5 Lanise August 24, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Do you think this would work for salmon? Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it.


    6 KitchenKop August 24, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Yes, I think it would work with any fish! :)


    7 Ave @ Made In Canarias August 25, 2009 at 5:14 am

    This looks so delicious!


    8 Pat@Back Porch Musings August 25, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Fish is a favorite of ours. We have it at least once a week. I’ll try this. Sounds wonderful!


    9 Kay August 25, 2009 at 10:18 am

    We love talapia but have a hard time locating some that’s not from China. China and Thailand don’t have clean waterways (for those who haven’t heard it’s sewage infested).


    10 Musings of a Housewife August 25, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Blech. Going to Whole Foods to get tilapia today. Will ask where it’s from.


    11 Jane August 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Yum! This one’s definitely a keeper. I’m going to try baking it, though. I’ll let you know how it comes out. Thanks!



    12 Lanise August 25, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Our costco sells Talapia from South America (hondouras maybe?). I’ve read that south ameican talapia is the next bet thing if you can’t find any from the U.S.


    13 Julie August 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I have a huge batch of lemon balm in my garden and am always looking for a recipe to showcase it. Thanks!


    14 Brenda August 25, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    That looks SO yummy! It is nice to have all the fresh herbs in your garden, then they are always handy for any dish you need them for!


    15 angie August 25, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    you are so lucky to have the great spice right at hand.


    16 darnold23 August 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    YUM! I would love to invite you to join me for Crock Pot Wednesday at Please come check it out. Thanks so much for posting.


    17 Lisa@Blessedwithgrace August 25, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    That fish does look good. I need to eat more fish.


    18 KitchenKop August 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Angie, I know – I looooooooooove it. :)

    I made this again for dinner today but made it with shrimp instead and it was just as tasty!


    19 Kara August 25, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious!! I’ve got some basil I need to use, so I’ll have to give it a try.


    20 Tiffany August 26, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    The fish looks so good! I only wish you could have posted this last week. We just had fish last night and I baked it, if I would have known about your recipe I would have tried it.
    I also haven’t been a big fish eater, but am now liking it more than I used to.


    21 Amy October 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Um…..if you’re reading and haven’t tried this….DO! This is SOOOO delicious! I’m new to the real grass-fed butter thing and WHAT a difference it makes! This is the best fish I have EVER eaten! The pesto is great. I only used the basil, lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic….and added a bit of parmesan cheese. Oh my goodness…mmmmmmm. Never liked basil much….in this its so good! Try it!!!
    Thanks Kelly! I’m loving your Rookies class!


    22 Najah March 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Doesn’t butter have a lot of carbs and transfat?


    23 KitchenKop March 16, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Nope, none of either.


    24 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook February 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Stupid Facebook, why would it pick this pic instead of the fish. It doesn’t let me choose on my iPhone…


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