Whenever we think of the perfect fish recipe, we can settle on many ways to cook the fish, such as grilling, baking, poaching, or deep frying, but there might be an easier way that involves just a pan and some heat, known as sauteing.
You may or may not have tried this method before, but we assure you that you will get a fish fillet with a crispy skin that gives a pleasant crackling sound once you cut into it.
But if you’re looking for a wholesome dinner, you might be thinking about the perfect recipe for your next meal and how you can mix it up a bit to end up with a flavorful and filling meal that could work with your dinner guests.
In this guide, we walk you through how to make sauteed fish at home and how you can customize some elements to make it more to your liking. Read on to find out about this rich and delicious fish recipe.
Ingredients To Make Sauteed Fish With Garlic
- 12 oz of halibut, pollock, cod, bass, or flounder fish fillet
- ½ a cup of flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- Ground black pepper
- A pinch of salt
- ½ of a lemon wedge while using the other half for seasoning
- 4-6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons of oregano or other Italian seasonings
Start seasoning your fillets with salt and black pepper, and begin heating a sautee pan on your grill over medium to high heat.
Once it becomes hot enough, add the olive oil, prepare your fillets with the flour, and shake off any excess bits.
Now you can place the fillets in the pan and fry for about 3 minutes for each side until you see it has become a nice golden-brown color, and once all your pieces are done, you can remove them and reduce the heat to a low-medium temperature.
Now add the white wine and your butter, and when the butter has melted, add the sliced garlic and fry until it has become a nice light brown color.
Now you can add your Italian seasoning or any herbs you want, then remove the pan from heat. Now you want to add your lemon juice while being careful that the pan doesn’t spit it back at you, then you can add more salt and pepper.
You can serve by plating up your fillets and pouring or spoon the garlic butter you made in the last step, and you can add some half lemon wedges to the side as a garnish, and from here, it should be ready to serve.
Want Something Different?
Now you’ve familiarized yourself with this simple recipe, and you’re thinking of ways to improve it, there are many ways you can go in changing areas like the garlic dressing, adding some elements, or changing your cooking method entirely.
But the big question here is whether your changes will be a success or not, especially if this is your first time making this recipe.
Below are some ways to make this recipe more suited to your and your guest’s tastes, as tastes can be far apart, and it can be challenging to please everyone.
Most fish sauteed recipes only offer the fish fillet and garlic dressing combo, and while this is good, we think you could add some flourishes to this mix to make it more of a substantial meal, and you don’t have to go overboard or spend longer doing this, either.
While you’re sauteing your fillets, you can add some asparagus, sliced carrots, and beans to a separate pan and use some olive oil to retain a lot of the flavor these bring.
Once you serve your fillets, you can take your veg off the heat and serve, all the while using your garlic dressing to bring more flavor out of this recipe.
Of course, you can try many different kinds of veg, such as leeks, parsnips, peppers, or even tomatoes, with some mint or basil to create a blend that is going to be both refreshing and nourishing at the same time.
We think that sticking to a recipe is good, and while this sounds like good advice, there are plenty of opportunities for you to try something new.
Cook Your Fish In Other Ways
While the recipe says you should sautee it, there’s a chance for you to try baking or even deep-frying your fillets to get a nice result, which may not give you the same crispy texture, but might be good ways to have your fish better retain the flavor you add.
Note that if you’re going for either of these methods, you’ll have to do some preparations, such as preheating your oven or keeping your deep-fry pan at a high temperature.
If you use a deep fry pan, you’ll have to monitor the temperature as if it’s too cold or too hot, this can affect the consistency and taste of your fish, so you may want to practice with this method a bit to get it just right.
Poaching might be a great way to try out this recipe as you can gently cook your fish in heated liquid like a sock, wine, or milk, this liquid can be used as a base for your dish that you may not have to prepare separately.
This might take a bit longer than sauteing, as it takes roughly 8-10 minutes for fillets and 15-20 minutes for whole fish to cook, and this might differ depending on the type of fish you use, as some may be greasier than others.
For example, during your process, if your fillets touch, this can create steam which could then cause the topping to become soggy, so you’ll have to keep an eye on your fillets while cooking them.
Alter Your Garlic Dressing Or Sauce
We’ve mentioned modifying your sauce or seasoning because you may want an intense or subtle taste, and some may wish for a creamier sauce on top, while some would prefer if it soaked into the fish fillet.
If you want more of a sauce mixture on your fillets, you can make this using 4 tablespoons of salted melted butter, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, and ½ a tablespoon of lemon juice.
You’ll notice that this differs from the white wine, butter, and Italian seasoning and instead goes for something a bit more creamier that you could serve separately on the side or cover your fillets with.
You could try other seasonings such as thyme, basil, cayenne pepper, or even some cornstarch to add more texture to your fillets, especially if you’re cooking with more difficult types such as catfish.
This perfect combination might be difficult to establish, but the main focus here is that you pick ingredients you are comfortable cooking with and know how long your preparation time will take.
The last thing you want us to have is any delays in this process, and as long as it takes you less than an hour, you should be fine, as this is how long it usually takes.
The Bottom Line
What we like about this recipe is that it can be done with a variety of different fish fillets, herbs, vegetables, and seasoning, which you can create something simple or use the lemon juice to full effect and add a bit of sharpness to the recipe.
When we look at ways to modify this recipe, there might be a temptation to stick to these and work from there, but if you like this recipe and know how to make it well, nothing is stopping you from trying something else.
Perhaps you want to go for diced fish instead of fillets, or maybe you want to add some cayenne peppers to add some spice to this recipe, and you can decide what kind of texture you want.
In the end, though, you’ll have a recipe that guests and family are going to appreciate and will love it even more when you try different variations.