Fish with Brown Butter Sauce

fish with brown butter sauce

My son loved this fish. After my wild success with the asparagus, brown butter seemed like it might be the key to unlock the deliciousness of just about any dubious food. And fish, well. I serve it so rarely -- my daughter doesn't like it; it's expensive; I always picture nets dragging along the bottom of the ocean floor and scooping up every last living example of every last species of marine life... But that's silly, because fish is still incredibly good for you. Make this with the outrageously delicious brown butter sauce and it will be outrageously good, and your fish-dissing children will (at least one of them) love it.

Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-5


    1/2 cup flour
    1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound white fish fillets (e.g. haddock, sole, flounder, cod)
    3 tablespoons butter (divided use)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Juice of half a lemon
    1 tablespoon capers (optional, of course)
    Chopped parsley


  1. Put an ovenproof platter in a 200 F degree oven to heat.
  2. In a wide frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil. Meanwhile, season the flour with the salt and pepper, then dredge the fish fillets and shake off the excess.
  3. Fry the fish until golden brown -- beneath a minute or two -- then flip, and fry until cooked through (this will take from one to five minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish). Remove the fish to the warmed platter. It may very well fall apart, and you will have to live with this messy fact.
  4. Add the remaining butter to the pan, and use a spatula to scrape up all the lovely golden bits that may have stuck to the bottom. Stir and swirl, scraping the bottom, for a minute or two, until the butter is deeply golden and fragrant (turn off the heat immediately if it seems like anything is burning ever). Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and capers and salt to taste.
  5. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with parsley (or celery leaves, if you forgot to get parsley), and serve.

Read more about Catherine making Fish with Brown Butter Sauce with her family.

See more recipes from Catherine Newman at her "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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