Florentine Fish with Spinach

As part of my recent Italian themed cooking class, I prepared this easy and delicious fish dish. It comes from an Italian cookbook I got as a wedding present a long time ago… Back then I barely set foot in the kitchen, and the only fish I dared to cook was a piece of salmon on the BBQ. It’s funny, but I can’t remember many things I cooked in those early married years except for an interesting concoction of fruit curry and lots of pasta. It must have been a special occasion, when I picked up the Italian cookbook (which was one of very few) in search for a managable recipe. I picked out two, one was for panna cotta and the other one for this. I have made both of them innumerable times since then. Actually the panna cotta was also part of the cooking class, although with buttermilk instead of cream and agar agar instead of gelatin. But that’s another post.

This recipe is for those of you who need a bit of a nudge to cook fish! I can’t state enough how quick and easy it is, but the best thing is that no one can tell. It looks as good as it tastes, the fish is mild and most people like spinach. I usually serve it with some boiled or roasted potatoes, but it’s is just as good with rice or on it’s own. If you can’t get sole, try dory, orange roughy or any other mild, flaky, white fish. Your fish monger can help.

Serves 4


600g (1 lb, 5 oz.) tender white fish fillets, such as sole, dory or orange roughy

450 g (1 lb) fresh spinach

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine

For the sauce:

1 small onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons (30g) butter, divided

1 1/4 cup whole milk

1.5 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon thyme, tried

1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

1 teaspoon sea salt

Fresh pepper


Sort through spinach, trim off stems, wash and dry.

In a large pot, sauté garlic in olive oil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add spinach and white wine; cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach from pot, leaving most of the juices behind.

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add onion and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and incorporate. Add milk, whisking vigorously, to avoid lumps from forming. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and fresh pepper. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce has thickened. Remove from stove and stir in cheese.

Heat oven to 200 C (400F).

Lightly grease a medium size oven-proof casserole dish.

If the fish fillets are thicker than 1 cm (1/4”), cut them horizontally. Place half of the fish fillets in bottom of casserole dish. Top with spinach and finish with other half of fish fillets.

Cover with sauce and scatter remaining butter, cut into small chunks, over the top.

Cook for 12 -15 minutes. For the last minute turn on grill to ensure the entire surface is evenly cooked.

Serve with potatoes, rice or on its own.

1 Response to “Florentine Fish with Spinach”

  • Thank you, very useful. I wasnt really a big fan of Spinach for many years ( understatement, I hated the stuff), but after marrying a vegetarian I kind of had to get used to it, and have gradually come to totally love the stuff. Spinach curry is now my absolute favourite! I recently found adedicated spinach recipes website which is my new favourite site now, you should take a look!

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