Pan-seared fish fillets are delicious and easy to prepare. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:
- Fish fillets (such as salmon, trout, cod, or tilapia)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil or vegetable oil
- Optional: Lemon wedges, fresh herbs (such as dill or parsley), butter
- Choose the Fish Fillets: Choose fresh fish fillets with the skin on or off, depending on your preference. Popular options include salmon, trout, cod, or tilapia.
- Season the Fillets: Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Season both sides with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or lemon zest if desired.
- Preheat the Pan: Place a non-stick skillet or a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil and let it heat up. The oil should shimmer, but not smoke.
- Sear the Fillets: Place the seasoned fish fillets in the pan, skin-side down if the skin is on. Press down gently with a spatula to ensure even contact with the pan. Allow the fillets to cook without moving them for 3-4 minutes (timing may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets) until the bottom is nicely browned and crispy.
- Flip and Finish Cooking: Carefully flip the fillets using a spatula. If the skin was on, it should easily release from the pan. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. The internal temperature of the fish should reach around 145°F (63°C).
- Add Optional Ingredients: If desired, you can add a pat of butter to the pan during the last minute of cooking. Tilt the pan and spoon the melted butter over the fish to add extra flavor and richness.
- Serve: Gently transfer the cooked fish fillets to serving plates. Garnish with fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, or any additional toppings you like. Serve immediately while the fillets are still hot.
- Serving Suggestions: Pan-seared fish fillets can be served with a variety of sides, such as steamed vegetables, rice, quinoa, or a salad. The crispy exterior and tender interior of the fish make for a delightful combination.
Remember, the cooking time can vary based on the thickness of the fillets, so it’s important to keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. With practice, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly pan-seared fish fillets that are both flavorful and satisfying.