White Fish Florentine

White fish baked in Spinach, Dijon, cream, panko and parmesan

Fish Florentine

Life is not perfect.  But of course, we all know this right?   In fact, my life is messy (sometimes literally).

Like many, I work diligently to keep it all together while raising a family, building a career and business and nurturing the important relationships in my life.  Let alone finishing the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms or walking Tank further than the driveway.  No, I do not have a housekeeper.  I wish.  Although I’d most likely clean the house before the housekeeper arrived.  And often, I find myself wishing I had a personal chef.  Ha!

However, I am truly thankful I have moments (more like glimpses) of life perfection.  You know, when you have a free afternoon to have lunch with dear friends, or you hear your 14-year-old tell someone on the phone that her Mom is a good cook (this one makes me smile).  Or when Ranger Craig brings me jasmine tea for no particular reason, or when Tank decides he needs a snuggle and sits on my feet while I’m working at my desk.  Ahh… perfection.

My life can be a roller coaster with time always the adversary.  Truthfully, with all that is in my daily schedule, I don’t have much time to write a blog.

I write because I believe so passionately the road to good health is learning to cook. I believe recipes are for sharing and for creating inspiration in the kitchen.  I believe family dinners create significant memories and provide children an emotional security, much like a warm hug.  I believe we are communal creatures that survive on whole food and fellowship.

I believe dinner should be achievable, enticing and delicious.   This dish definitely meets the criteria but tastes like you worked really hard.

I posted this beautiful Fish Florentine several years ago. However, after preparing this dish recently, I feel it deserves a second post.  Fresh white fish paired simply with a lemon and Dijon spiked spinach and finished with a lovely parmesan and panko breadcrumb crust.

I fell in love with this dish all over again.  In fact, we had it twice in one week!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


White Fish Florentine

A great way to use all that fishing trip fish stocked in the freezer or the spinach you froze from summer.  Substitute with fresh winter greens instead of spinach and spike with your favorite spices rather than the Dijon.

Serves 4


1lb fresh spinach (or 1 large pkg frozen organic chopped spinach)

Olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup heavy cream (for a saucier dish add ½ cup cream)

1 teaspoon lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon

Salt and pepper

1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh fish (Cod, Ling Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Sole, if using snapper try to remove the bones prior to cooking)

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

Serve with fresh lemon wedges


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and add the fresh spinach, in batches if you need. Sauté just until the spinach is wilted and transfer to a dish. Continue until all the spinach has been sautéed. Let the spinach cool a bit and then squeeze all the excess liquid from the spinach. Coarsely chop the sautéed spinach and set aside.

Or, if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out all the excess liquid.

In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots and garlic for one minute or until fragrant. Next, stir in the heavy cream, Dijon mustard and lemon zest. Take the pan off the heat and fold in the chopped spinach until combined with the sauce. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, just enough so the fish won’t stick. Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper and place the fish in the baking dish in a single layer.

Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the fish. Then squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the spinach and fish. Mix together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan and then sprinkle on top of the spinach.

Place the fish into the oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and done. Typically you can cook fish about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, however, because we’ve layered with spinach and breadcrumbs cooking time may be longer.

When the fish is done, remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.


  1. A very much like the idea of using a lean white protein for spinach florentine. We do sometimes have white meat in the freezer (sometimes from fishing trips) sometimes the supermarket. Yet there’s always frozen spinach and the want to do something tasty with it, so winner all round 🙂

  2. It looks like you are doing very well Karista, your blog is wonderful…… I totally agree with you about life, perfection and healthy food, and this florentine fish is all I wish to have right now, have a great day! 😉

  3. We eat at the table every night! Great cooking time advice Karista 🙂

  4. How true! I love your philosophy of achievable but beautifully delicious food.
    It’s funny how it’s seemingly the ‘big things’ that can overwhelm us in life, but it’s those little things that end up bringing everything together and bringing you back around to what’s important.

  5. I think you dish looks wonderful…I have had a similar dish but the spinach was stuffed inside a roll of fish. I like your version better with the wonderful crunchy top.

  6. This is a good post and a good reminder that perfection is so relative. I’m having a moment now laughing, blogging, and eating chocolate chips and dried cranberries with my own 14 yr old daughter who I think would love this dish. Thanks Karista… x wendy

  7. You know what I love about your blog, Karista? The food you come up with is innovative and something I would likely never come up with on my own, but it is all so enticing! And doable! Double win!

    • 🙂 Awww… thank you so much Christie. I really needed to read this tonight. I made a stinker of a recipe this evening, that even my husband didn’t like. LOL! Feelin’ just a little disappointed. Hahaha! It was another fish dish with preserved lemon, green olives and capers with a sprinkling of cilantro. Very Moroccan. I’m not sure where the dish went wrong but it wasn’t very tasty. Too much saffron I think. 😦

  8. Love everything about it 🙂 I adore fish!
    I totally agree with you in order to be healthy we must learn to cook – being in the kitchen, cooking together is healthy on so many levels. Nothing I know better in the world than to gather people in the kitchen for great food and time spend together 🙂

  9. What a great idea to florentine white fish! Yum!

  10. That’s a wonderful, passionate statement about life….messy, and worth every second. Thanks for sharing it.
    AND that yummy sauce! 🙂

  11. lovely recipe and beautiful words about life’s moments of perfection. from this humble observer, you seem to doing a fabulous job of maintaining balance and perspective. ~ kale in ecuador

    • Thank you Kale! I skipped on over to browse your blog and it’s delightfully delicious! Looks like you and the Mr. are having lots of grand adventure around the world. I’ve never been to Ecuador but I imagine it’s a wonderful place to experience. Delicious Wishes, Karista

  12. Yummy – glad you list some more interesting fish. Could also use coley, haddock or pollack? Looks great, Karista. My life is also messy… I have too much to be getting on with!

    • Hahahaha! I hear you! But for us passionate foodies it’s hard not write about the food we love. And I LOVE your blog so you keep writing because I might just have a meltdown if there were no more Frugal Feeding. 🙂 Absolutely, any white fish will be great in this recipe.

  13. Love the comment by your 14 year old kind of perfection and wish I could enjoy the afternoon lunch with friends kind of perfection right now. Your observations ring true for me Karista. I will have to give this white fish dish a try!

    • Thanks Barb! Yes, one never knows what will come out of a 14 year olds mouth. LOL! I do so enjoy lunches with girlfriends. Few and far between but when we can all get together it’s just a little piece of heaven. Hoping you get some friend time soon!

  14. Lovely post, yummy recipe! Thank you

  15. I definitely know you are passionate about why you blog and your cooking.. if I could have a personal chef, Karista, it would be you:) I really loved your message and as a mother of older/sort of grown up children/young adults I’m always just so impressed with how bloggers with young children and crazy schedules and work… still find the time to write. I’m the lucky one.. because I get to come here and read.. and see lovely and innovative recipes! xo

    • Thanks Smidge! I too have an older child/young adult, but the youngest is still home and just beginning the busy High School schedule. I know many young woman bloggers with young children and I am also amazed at how they manage their young ones, home and a blog! LOL! I don’t think I could have been that organized when my kids were little. Hugs to you my friend and have a fabulous week!

  16. I’m so glad you do write! I am always inspired by your good ideas. 🙂

  17. You are an inspiration my dear, although I can so sympathize with feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. This fish looks fabulous. Like all your recipes…going on the list!

  18. Great post Karista!!!! I can really relate and love your deeper message!

    • Thanks Alyssa! I had someome comment how perfect my life looked. It struck me that my life isn’t at all perfect and that’s not the message I want to convey. Life is messy! Even for me. And it’s challenging, and sometimes makes me want to run away. LOL! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I truly feel blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. 🙂 Let’s get together soon! February?

  19. Karista, reading this post is why I nominated you with the 2012 Blog of the Year Award earlier in the year (or was it late last year? 🙂 — I forget now). Your honesty, your beliefs in why you blog and the amazing food that you constantly share make you someone I admire and look up to — I want to be a better blogger and better cook! Great post!

    • Wow, you humble me Danny. Thank you again for your support and honoring me with the Blog of the year award. You are an amazing blogger, off to an amazing start. What a spectacular first year. There are big things in store for you my friend. Hugs!

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