This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Mary. She’s taught me a lot of great cooking tricks and is an absolute force in the kitchen. You know Mary is cooking when you walk into the house and the music is pumping at full volume. I’ve changed some of the seasonings and herbs, but the timing and technique here are all hers. This is an easy, totally hands-off method of cooking fish, which makes it an ideal recipe for new or nervous cooks—for all cooks, really!

Serves 4


WNK- Cooking in Real Life book cover Cooking in Real Life: Delicious & Doable Recipes for Every Day (A Cookbook) Lidey Heuck
  • 4 skinless halibut (6 ounces each), at least 1-inch thick

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 lemon

  • 2/3 cup pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and place the fillets on a plate on the counter while you prepare the herb oil.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tarragon, chives, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Grate the lemon zest into the bowl and whisk well. Cut the lemon into quarters. Remove any visible seeds and set aside.

  4. Drizzle a thin layer, about 2 tablespoons olive oil, onto the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit the fillets without crowding. Add the olives and lemon quarters and toss to coat with olive oil. Add the fish, spacing them evenly in the pan. Brush the herb oil all over the top and sides of the fillets.

  5. Roast until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, 18 to 22 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Press the lemon quarters gently with the back of a spoon to release their juice, then carefully tilt the pan and spoon the pan juices over the fish.

  6. Carefully transfer the fish to a serving dish, along with the olives. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.


Halibut is my favorite fish to use in this recipe, but when it’s too expensive or unavailable, fluke or cod are great substitutes. Just try to get fillets around the same size so they cook evenly.


This recipe scales up beautifully. You can cook up to 12 fillets on a standard sheet pan (multiplying the ingredients accordingly), and the cooking time will remain the same.

Excerpted from COOKING IN REAL LIFE: Delicious & Doable Recipes for Every Day. Copyright @ 2024 by Lidey Heuck. Photography Copyright © 2024 by Dane Tashima. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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