Baked Fish: “Psari Plaki”

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

In Greek, psari (psah-REE) means ‘fish’ and plaki (plah-KEE) means ‘spread out’ or ‘flat’. The word plaki is derived from Greek roots plak, plat, and platys, all meaning ‘broad’ or ‘flat’. Plak originally referred to an ancient griddle stone which functioned as a flat oven for food to be cooked on. Some English words derived from these roots include ‘plate’,’platter’, ‘platen’ (a flat plate in a printing press which presses paper against inked type, thus creating an impression; the roller of a typewriter)), ‘plateau’ (broad, nearly level, or flat surface of high elevation), ‘platform’ (flat, elevated piece of ground or flooring), and ‘platypus’ (flat-footed duckbill).

Plaki refers to a method of cooking, usually with olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, parsley, and often other vegetables. While baked fish plaki is very popular, beans plaki and vegetable plaki are also made.

Psari plaki consists of whole small fish, or larger fish cut into steaks or cutlets, or fish fillets, laid flat while cooking in the traditional sauce. The recipe works well with any firm white fish: cod, tilapia, haddock, halibut, mackerel, snapper, or whatever type you have available.

The following oven-baked recipe is delicious, nourishing, heart-healthy, and easily prepared. Experiment and adapt the recipe to your liking, adding different ingredients, herbs, and spices to the sauce!

Servings: 6-9 servings


  • 2-3 lbs. fresh seasonal fish fillets or frozen white fish fillets, such as wild Alaskan halibut, wild Pacific Cod, haddock, or tilapia
  • Pepper and salt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2-1 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup white wine
  • 4-6 medium-size fresh tomatoes, sliced, chopped, or diced, or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, or 2-3 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (or more) chopped carrots, celery
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced
  • 1 fresh lemon, sliced


  1. Arrange fish fillets in large baking dish or pan and sprinkle with lemon juice, pepper, and salt.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil and cook the onion until soft. Add wine, chopped vegetables and herbs (tomatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, dill, and parsley) , saving 1/2 cup parsley, fresh sliced tomato and lemon for later.
  3. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
  4. Cover fish in pan with this mixture and add tomato slices, parsley, and lemon slices on top.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.


  1. Dried basil and/or oregano may be sprinkled on top of mixture before placing in oven.
  2. Chopped scallions, or larger amounts of chopped fresh dill and parsley may be added to above recipe. (My philosophy is that the more herbs and vegetables added to a meal, the more heart-healthy, nutritious, and satisfying it becomes. Many herbs, including dill, parsley, and scallions, provide various antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, vitamin C, and have anti-inflammatory and bacteriostatic properties. I generally add both entire bunches of washed and chopped dill and parsley to the above recipe, as well as more of all the vegetables.)
  3. Tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and garlic may be sautéed in oil before they are added to the baking dish.
  4. Toasted, sliced almonds may be sprinkled over the warm fish before serving.
  5. Serve fish plaki with crusty bread and a seasonal salad, or boiled potatoes, or steamed rice.

Kali Orexi!    Bon Appetit!

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