4 Classic Sauces For Fish (Italian-Inspired)

Saucy Fish Dishes 

Did you know that fishes are extremely healthy and contain fats that slow down aging? On the other hand, the best classic sauces for fish give an extra touch to fish dishes, especially in terms of flavor. With the best sauces for fish recipes, you can transform what may be a tedious fish meal into a flavorful and delicious work of art. Don’t simply take our word for it; try out these recipes.

Fish sauce with chili

10 Ideas for Fish Sauces

Check out these ten ideas for fish sauces that will take any fish dish over the top and simply divine to taste.

Fresh Herb Sauce

This is an easy sauce for fish. All you need for this sauce are parsley, arugula, marjoram, oregano, vinegar, and garlic.

Lemon Cream Sauce

This is one of the classic sauces for fish, and it doesn’t get much simpler than lemon zest, cream, salt, lemon juice, and parsley.

Mint Sauce

This sauce for fish recipe blends fresh mint with garlic, vinegar, and sugar for a sweet-and-sour sauce perfect for a full-flavored fish like tuna.

Parsley Sauce

This easy, lemony sauce is fantastic with crisp, butter-fried sea bass or snapper.

Red Wine Sauce

The success of this simple sauce lies in the quality of the wine. A full-bodied red is the best choice for such a flavorful sauce.

Rich Ketchup Sauce

This easy sauce for fish consists of ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and Tabasco, which blend well together to give a complexly flavored sauce.

Salmoriglio Sauce

This tangy, buttery sauce is a Sicilian fish sauce classic.

Smoked-Almond Romesco Sauce

Smoked-Almond Romesco sauce is also one of the classic sauces for fish which contains smoked almonds and a touch of pimentón de la Vera that gives this sauce a terrific smokiness.

Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

This healthy version of classic Chinese-takeout sweet-and-sour sauce is light and spicy.

Tomato Ginger Sauce

You can easily put this simple tomato sauce together in minutes, making it one of the best sauces for fish.

White Wine Cream Sauce Recipe

Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 32 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time:  10 minutes

Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:

Item 1: Heavy cream is chock full of essential fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.  These vitamins play various vital roles in the body; for example, Vitamin K  plays a key role in helping blood clot and preventing excessive bleeding. Fat-soluble vitamins are better absorbed by your body when consumed with fat. 

Heavy cream also appears to be healthier than several highly refined low-fat products. However, heavy cream is very high in calories, containing 408 calories per 1/2 cup (120 grams). Therefore, it can be easy to consume excess calories if you use it often.

Item 2: Butter, whether salted or unsalted, is a rich source of several vitamins, especially fat-soluble ones. It contains vitamins A, D, E, B12, and K2. Vitamin A is the most abundant vitamin in butter, and helps reduce your risk of certain cancers, improves skin health, and protects your eyes from night blindness. It also helps boost your immune system, which positively enhances your well-being. 

Salted butter contains salt, as the name suggests. It has a saltier taste and a longer shelf life since the salt added to it acts as a preservative. Unsalted butter has no added salt and has a shorter shelf life than salted butter. However, in terms of flavor, unsalted butter has a more pronounced mellow sweetness than salted butter. 

If you are looking to control your salt intake, unsalted butter is better because it allows you to control the amount of salt in the dish. In addition, as shown in the breakdown below, both salted and unsalted butter have the same nutritional value.

One standard tablespoon of unsalted butter contains the following, calories: 100, Fat: 12g , Saturated Fat: 7g, Unsaturated Fats: 0, Protein: 0g, Carbohydrates: 0g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 0g, Added sugars: 0g, Sodium: 0mg, Calcium: 0% DV and Potassium: 0% DV.  This nutritional breakdown is exactly the same for salted butter, with the only difference being 90 mg of sodium per tablespoon.

Item 3: Fish velouté is essential when making white wine cream sauce. It is a simple sauce made from butter, flour, and fish stock. Fish stock is a savory, flavorful cooking liquid created by simmering bones, herbs, and aromatic vegetables for several hours. The fish stock often used in the recipe contains a concentrated mixture of all the nutrients fish provides. The stock is loaded full of Omega-3 fats, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, and other vitamins and minerals.

Equipment Needed

  1. Heavy-bottomed saucepan
  2. Saucepan
  3. Cheesecloth
  4. Wooden spoon


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz.(946.36 ml) fish velouté
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 dash lemon juice, to taste


  1. Place the heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently heat it to just below a simmer, do not let it boil. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Add the fish velouté to the wine and raise the heat to bring your mixture to a boil. Lower the heat after your mixture boils to allow your mixture to simmer and reduce for about five minutes, or until the total volume has reduced by about one cup.
  3. Stir the warm cream into the wine mixture and bring it back to a simmer for just a moment.
  4. Mix the butter and season to taste with kosher salt and white pepper. Add just a dash of lemon juice. Strain your mixture through a cheesecloth and serve immediately
fish sauce vietnamese

Italian Fish in Tomato Sauce

Time: 17 minutes
Serving Size: 3 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:

Item 1: White fish is naturally low in fat, making it one of the healthier, low-fat alternatives to red or processed meat, which tends to be higher in saturated fat. Even though white fish is low in fat and calories, it is a great source of protein. Proteins play an essential role in muscle growth, immune function and tissue repair. Proteins also help curb cravings and boost weight loss. 

White fish is a great source of vitamin B6, which helps our bodies fight inflammation. Vitamin B6 can help reduce pain caused by inflammation-related illnesses.  White fish also contains a healthy amount of vitamin B3, which is known to boost the immune system and can help recover from infections faster.

Most importantly, eating white fish regularly may avoid getting bone problems with age because white fish contain phosphorus. Phosphorus helps maintain bone structure and density. It also plays a role in helping broken bones heal.

Item 2: Cherry tomatoes contain essential nutrients, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants, making them a particularly useful and healthy superfood. They are also low in calories but high in fiber, especially when their skin is also used. 

In fact, just 4 oz (114 grams) of whole cherry tomatoes contains approximately 31 calories, Carbs: 6 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Sugar: 5 grams, Sodium: 144 mg, Vitamin A: 86% of the Daily Value (DV), Vitamin C: 14% of the DV Iron: 8% of the DV, Potassium: 7% of the DV and Calcium: 3% of the DV.

The nutrients in cherry tomatoes help improve heart health, promote healthy skin and lower the risk of diseases such as cancer,  diabetes, and kidney disorders.

Item 3: Garlic is very nutritious, and it contains few calories. One clove 0.1 oz (4 g) of garlic provides: Manganese: 2% of the Daily Value (DV), Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV, Vitamin C: 1% of the DV, Selenium: 1% of the DV, Fiber: 0.06 grams and calcium, copper, phosphorus and iron and vitamin B1

Garlic is also known to have numerous health benefits. For example, garlic helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and has anti-cancer properties. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and it’s a great help in fighting infections. 

Equipment Needed

  1. Sauté pan
  2. Wooden spoon
  3. Colander


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (2 crushed, one finely chopped)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (amount, as desired)
  • 1 can, 14 oz (400 g) of canned cherry tomatoes. 
  • Salt and pepper (hot pepper flakes optional)
  • 1 White fish filet, 7 oz (200 g) (You can use orange roughy, cod, haddock, or any fleshy white fish) – if serving without pasta, use two filets (14 oz (400 g))
  • 1/2 lb (226 g) of good quality Italian pasta.


  1. Begin by boiling water for the pasta and cook as directed on the packet; make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
  2. Put the garlic, parsley, hot pepper (optional), and olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan. Bring heat up to high. Add the tomato puree before the garlic browns and stir quickly.
  3. Add salt and pepper. Cook on high heat for about five minutes and then lower to a simmer. Add a little splash of pasta water if needed.
  4. Place the fish in next and simmer gently until the fish is cooked and begins to flake (turn just once). Begin to break the fish into smaller pieces if you serve the fish with pasta. The pasta and fish in tomato sauce should be ready simultaneously.
  5. Save some of the pasta water, drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the fish and tomatoes. Add the water as needed, and combine the pasta with fish in tomato sauce.
  6. Spoon pasta into warm plates and serve immediately. 

Spaghetti Alla Colatura

Time: 25 minutes
Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:

Item 1: Colatura di alici is an Italian fish sauce made from anchovies. This fish sauce is a transparent, amber-colored liquid produced by fermenting anchovies in brine. Anchovies contain many key nutrients like niacin, selenium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. They also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and cancer by preventing the growth and spread of tumors.

Item 2: Parsley, on the other hand, contains nutrients such as vitamin A. K and C are low in calories. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that helps support bone and heart health. This vitamin also plays a key role in proper blood clotting, which can help prevent bleeding. Vitamin A is also good for your skin and may help improve skin conditions like acne. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant and is essential to help boost your immune system.

Parsley has antibacterial properties and may help enhance your liver health. But, most importantly, it has a unique flavor that makes it a versatile spice or garnish for most dishes.

Item 3: Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, which is the best quality of olive oil available, is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage and may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Olive oil also contains nutrients that help fight inflammation and helps prevent stroke.  Most importantly, olive oil does not appear to contribute to weight gain, and consuming olive oil moderately may even help weight loss.   

A tablespoon of standard olive oil contains the following nutrients, among others: energy: 119 calories, total fat: 13.5 g (including 9.85 g monounsaturated fatty acids, 1.42 g polyunsaturated fatty acids, and 1.86 g saturated fatty acids), iron: 0.08 mg, vitamin E: 1.94 mg, vitamin K: 8.13µg

Equipment Needed

  1. Pot
  2. Whisk
  3. A large bowl
  4. Colander


  • 14 oz (396 g) spaghetti 
  • 4 tsp of colatura
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) fresh parsley chopped 
  • 1 tsp fresh peperoncino (red chili pepper) chopped
  • 1/2 tsp peperoncino flakes (optional)
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. More if required.
  • 1 tsp salt 


  1. Place a pot of water on a stove and set it to boil.  Add a teaspoon of salt or none at all. Keep in mind that the colatura is quite salty, and adding too much salt will make the sauce very salty.
  2.  Add the spaghetti and cook al dente( cook to be firm to bite) according to the instructions on the packet.
  3. Place your garlic, parsley, and peperoncino in a large bowl and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by colatura. 
  4. Leave to rest until the pasta is almost cooked, and then add two to three tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to your mixture to form an emulsion. Whisk well
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and set aside some of the cooking water. Next, add the pasta to the bowl containing your garlic, parsley, peperoncino, olive oil, colatura mixture, and another ½ cup of pasta cooking water. 
  6. Toss and stir the pasta to emulsify the sauce and coat the pasta. Add more pasta cooking water if the pasta seems dry, preferably one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  7. Add a little more colatura and mix again. Serve right away.

Italian Putanesca Sauce

Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:

This Italian Putanesca sauce contains 220 calories per serving. The sauce also contains various ingredients (listed below) that add to the meal’s nutritional value, making it an ideal and easy sauce for fish.

Item 1: Lemons are high in Vitamin C and fiber. Vitamin C is essential for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including the maintenance of cartilage, bones, teeth, the proper functioning of the immune system, and wound healing. Lemons are also known to help with weight control and digestive health problems.

Item 2: Capers contain various antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress. These antioxidants also help in mitigating the risk of some kinds of cancer. Capers also contain various nutrients, namely, vitamin A, E, niacin, calcium, and manganese. 

Capers are also good for your body because they are low in calories and high in fiber. Their nutritional benefits help stabilize blood sugar, support healthy blood clotting, relieve inflammation, promote bone health, and improve liver function. 

Item 3: Oil-cured olives have been cured with salt and soaked for months in oil. This is usually done for the purpose of preservation and rehydration. This process also helps tone down the natural bitter flavor of freshly harvested olives.

Like capers, oil-cured olives are rich in antioxidants that help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. They are also anti-inflammatory and help reduce the risk of heart disease even though they are high in healthy fats. Olives contain nutrients like iron, copper, Vitamin E, and calcium. They also have low levels of calories.

Equipment Needed

  1. Large saucepan or pot
  2. Wooden spoon
  3. Grater
  4. Knife
  5. Splatter screen or guard


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic (freshly grated)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint (finely, basil or parsley, optional)
  • 2 oz (56 g) anchovies (drained)
  • 2 tbsp. capers (rinsed and drained)
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup (57 ml)  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 28 oz (793 g) tomatoes (chopped, crushed, or peeled whole)
  • 4 oz (113 g) oil-cured olives (pitted and chopped)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)


  1. Gather and prep your ingredients before starting since this will help speed up the cooking process. 
  2. Add garlic (grated), olive oil, and crushed red pepper to your pan over medium-low heat. Allow your garlic to sizzle (barely, so as not to burn it).  Let it warm for a minute to allow the olive oil to soak up the garlic flavor.
  3. Add the anchovies, and break them up with your wooden spoon to ensure they can quickly dissolve into the oil. 
  4. Add your tomatoes, ensuring you stir them into the oil. Increase heat to medium.
  5. Remove the pits from your olives. You can simply do so by squeezing them between your fingers. Next, chop and add olives and capers to the tomato sauce.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper. Remember to season moderately with salt since olives are typically high in salt because they are cured or packaged in brine or salt water. It is easier to add a little later than to end up with a too salty sauce.
  7. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes to thicken. Use a splatter screen to prevent grease burns or other messes.
  8. Add the lemon zest and herbs when you are ready to serve.
Fish sauce with chili


Fish is among one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s filled with essential nutrients and minerals, such as protein, zinc, and vitamins B12 and D. It is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain. Fish also serves as a viable option for those who want a meat-free diet. 

With heavy cream, white wines, aromatic herbs, yogurts, capers, or anchovies, classic fish sauces give an extra touch to fish meals. There are many ways to cook fish, with over a thousand recipes. However, one thing all these recipes have in common is the flavor.

Fish recipes must bring out the flavor and preserve the nutritional benefits of the fish. Classic fish sauces such as those listed above are the best way to enhance both.  Aside from the taste, these sauces for fish add to meals; they also add contrast in texture and color.

Another aspect to consider when choosing classic sauces for fish is the type of fish to pair the sauce with. For example, lemon-based sauces are also perfect for grilled fish such as sea bass or sea bream because they balance the smokiness from the grill out a little bit.

Finally, to truly appreciate the recipes listed above, it is advisable to serve your fish dishes (and eat them) right after cooking since fish tastes best as soon as it’s cooked. And since most of the recipes presented here are pretty easy to make, it, in turn, cuts down the overall cooking time and helps you make the most out of your meal.