Lemon Butter Fish may be more frequently ordered at restaurants than made at home. It’s not your typical Tuesday night, in-between after a long day’s meal. But it can be. And it is.
This Easy Lemon Butter Fish goes from stovetop to tabletop with five ingredients in just 20 minutes.
This recipe is fabulous with any tender, flaky, mild flavored white fish filets. A firmer white fish works better than soft textured fish. A nice fresh cod, halibut, or mahi mahi would work beautifully. You’ll want 4 good-sized, firm white fish filets that are about 6 inches long and 1 inch thickness. Definitely look for that 1-inch thickness, as thinner fish fillets don’t cook up as nicely.
A heavy, large and even-cooking non-stick skillet is preferred for this technique. For flipping delicate food like fish, I use an extra wide stainless steel turner with a smooth/narrow edge or a fish spatula to get underneath and flip it easily.
4good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long1-inch thick (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
1largelemonzest and juice
kosher salt or sea salt to tastetry not to use table salt – it’s extremely acrid and will impart saltiness
1tbspspice blend of choiceI used 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3tbspoil of your preferenceex: coconut, olive, avocado, vegetable
freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
extra lemon slices for serving
Place fish on a plate or baking dish. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in the pan. Set aside.
Prepare Butter Lemon Sauce:
In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well. Taste and adjust. Set aside.
Prepare Spice Blend for Fish:
In a separate bowl, combine the salt, paprika, garlic and onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly sprinkle all sides of the fillets. Press mixture with fingers onto fillets.(See Chef's note below about dredging)
Sautéing the Filets:
In a large, heavy pan over medium heat, heat oil for 30 seconds. Place fillets in the pan 2 at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning).
Cook each side just until the fish becomes opaque – about 3 – 3 ½ minutes per side. Fillets will feel somewhat firm in the center.
If you are preparing 4 fillets and cooking 2 fillets in a pan, Divide the sauce between 2 batches.
Lightly drizzle half of the lemon butter sauce over fillets about 2 minutes after turning on the other side, reserving the rest for serving.
Continue cooking to finish fillets and to warm sauce through.
Take care not to overcook the filets, as that will result in a tougher texture. Taste and season if needed.
Serve fish with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges. Brown Rice or Orzo pair well with the fish, or Roasted Vegetables for a healthy gluten-free meal 🙂
Servings: This recipe serves 4, but can be halved if only needed for 1-2 servings. Or create as is to prepare a meal plan for the remaining week.Dredging Note: I lightly dredged the fillets in a flour. Place 4 tablespoons of flour on a plate and flour each fillet. This is an optional step. However, it provides another layer of flavor and texture. Fish Cooking Time: The actual cook time for fish varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. I typically cook about 3-4 minutes per side. I check for doneness by lightly pressing filet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it’s usually done.