Paleo Greek Braised Fish

The official name of this recipe is Psári Bouryetto which means steamed fish.  Psári is Greek for fish, and that is particularly fascinating to me because I am currently studying Spanish.  The word for fish (the food) is pescado, and fish (the animal, alive and swimming) is pez.  Born in March, I also happen to be a Pisces, which is derived from Latin.  That is all for language fun-facts for today. 🙂

This particular recipe is Greek (obviously), and came from an old cookbook that my Yiayia (my Mom’s Mom) gave to her.  There are many amazing aspects to this cookbook, but one I’d like to highlight is the overall simplicity of the recipes.  I feel that, with Greek recipes especially, people often assume that they are difficult to make and that the cooking process is long.  There are certainly some recipes that require more work and finesse than others, but this recipe is one of many from Yiayia’s collection that is extremely simple yet yields exquisite flavors.  If you leave out salt and pepper (which are basic in most recipes), then this recipe only has 5 components: fish, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and parsley.

All of these ingredients, with the exception of the fish, are things that I have in my kitchen at all times.  I certainly do my share of shopping at the grocery store, but having a well-stocked pantry of ingredients is far more desirable than having to run out for something at the last minute.  Even though planning ahead for cooking isn’t always possible, one of my least favorite things to do is having to make a special trip for an item that should be in my kitchen at all times.  For example: lemon and lime juice.  In Augusta, I always tried to have lemons and limes in the event that I needed juice for a recipe.  However, if I went too long without using them, they grew moldy, then I inevitably needed them when I was out.  Therefore, I now embrace the bottled juices, which store brilliantly in the refrigerator!  Unless you are making a salad dressing, need the zest, or are using lemon to garnish- having bottled juice saves so much time (and money if you are having to throw away produce).  I even found a huge bottle of organic lemon juice at the Commissary!  And if you needed further endorsement, my cousin Daphne uses bottled lemon juice it in her famous chicken wings 🙂

The original recipe calls for the juice of two lemons, but I used 3/4 cup of juice.  If you want a more muted citrus flavor, especially if you are using bottled lemon juice, start with 1/2 cup.  The beauty of making the marinade before the fish goes in is that you can taste it for quality control!

This recipe was so simple, yet so satisfying.  Even though there is a little marinating time required, this could still make a fantastic mid-week recipe!  Just prepare the marinade when you first get home, and then by dinnertime it will only take fifteen more minutes until dinner is ready!  This recipe went extremely well over steamed broccoli or spinach, but would also pair deliciously with my cauliflower rice.  Just make sure there is some kind of complement to the mouth-watering juice/broth!

I did not substitute the olive oil for coconut oil for two reasons: the olive oil creates a distinctly Greek flavor that is crucial to this dish, and it is a braising cooking process, meaning over low heat.  Without getting too technical, different oils are healthiest below certain cooking temperatures.  Olive oil in particular is best used below 375 degrees.  For that reason, I use olive oil for dressing, coconut oil for most cooking, and avocado for temperatures up to 400 degrees.  That being said, the use of olive oil in this recipe for health and flavor is perfection.


  • 2-3 lbs white-fleshed fish filets (I used rockfish, although snapper or cod would also work well)
  • 3/4 cup organic olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • optional: dried parsley, to garnish


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes
  • 2. Whisk to incorporate all of the ingredients
  • 3. Rinse fish filets and pat dry
  • 4. Add filets to the marinade, then cover well with plastic wrap
  • 5. Let the fish marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours
  • 6. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven on medium-low/medium heat
  • 7. Transfer the fish and marinade to the pan, and once it begins to bubble slightly, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes
  • 8. Serve with the cooking liquid, sprinkled with dried parsley
  • 9. Enjoy!