Simple Pan-Seared Fish


Dinner in a snap.

Simple Pan-Seared Fish
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

Looking for a surefire way to get an impressive dinner on the table in a snap? Let us introduce you to the concept of a simple seafood supper. While we love a good roast chicken or pasta casserole, fresh fish is wonderfully light, nutritious, and—best of all—cooks in no time.

Cooking fish may seem intimidating at first; that's why we're bringing you this simple pan-searing method which works for a variety of white fish, from grouper to cod to red snapper. In fact, you can make this recipe with any thick fillets from white-fleshed fish. Once you learn how to pan-sear fish, you'll be creating five-star, restaurant-worthy dishes in your home kitchen in no time. We love to pair this fish with a simple, vibrant pea salad, but feel free to get creative based on what's in season.

A few tips from our Test Kitchen to help you master this technique: When possible, buy your fish fresh at the seafood counter; frozen fish tends to be more watery. Let the fish rest for 10 minutes before cooking to allow any juices to seep out. Lastly, use a nonstick skillet to make the fish easier to sear.

A drizzle of fresh honey-mustard vinaigrette at the end really brightens the entire dish. Raw peas are some of the best produce spring has to offer, complementing the simply-prepared fish and zingy dressing. Serve with simple roasted potatoes with butter and herbs and you've got a full square meal.


  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1 large shallot)

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup frozen, thawed English peas or fresh, cooked, chilled English peas

  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, cut diagonally into ½-inch slices (about 2 cups)

  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes (from 3 small radishes)

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless grouper fillets

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Whisk together vinegar, shallot, honey, mustard, ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Reserve ⅓ cup dressing. Add English and sugar snap peas, radishes, onion, and lemon zest to shallot mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use.

  2. Pat fish fillets dry with a paper towel; season with pepper and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add fillets to skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until a light golden crust appears on outside, about 4 minutes. Turn fillets over; cook until fish is opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet; place on a plate lined with paper towels.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, divide pea mixture among 4 plates. Top each plate with 1 fillet; spoon reserved dressing evenly over fish and pea mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.

Related Articles