The City Magazine Since 1975

How to Pan-Roast Fish

February 2015
How to Pan-Roast Fish
PHOTOGRAPHER: 
Fish can be tough for the home cook to master—in part because it’s difficult to know when it’s done. Kevin Johnson, executive chef at The Grocery, says the secret to perfecting this healthy protein lies in pan roasting. “When you’re cooking in a skillet, you can actually see the fish,” Johnson says. “It allows you a lot more control.” Follow his steps for delicious lemon- and herb-infused filets with moist interiors and crispy exteriors.
  1. Pour three tablespoons of canola oil into a cast-iron skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until oil begins to bubble.
  2. Season four five-ounce filets of fish with salt and pepper to taste. Choose a fish that’s skinless, fairly tender, and not too thick, such as flounder, triggerfish, or tilefish.
  3. Place filets into the pan with the side that used to have skin facing up; they should not touch each other. Sear for two to three minutes.
  4. Flip the fish carefully and place a lemon slice on each filet.
  5. Add two smashed garlic cloves, four thyme sprigs, and two and a half tablespoons of butter to the pan. As the butter melts and the thyme and garlic start to sizzle, baste the filets with the mixture. Basting continuously, cook this second side for two to three minutes, or until the fish reaches your desired doneness.
  6. Remove the fish with a slotted spatula, leaving the thyme and garlic behind.  Serve immediately.
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