Killer Lemon Butter Sauce for Fish Recipe
In the realm of culinary delights, few things can compare to the exquisite pairing of a perfectly cooked fish with a luscious lemon butter sauce. This dynamic combination not only tantalizes the taste buds but also leaves a lasting impression on anyone lucky enough to savor it. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to elevate your seafood game, this article will guide you through creating a killer lemon butter sauce that will take your fish dishes to new heights.
The Magic of Lemon Butter Sauce
Before diving into the recipe, it’s essential to understand why lemon butter sauce is revered in the culinary world. This velvety concoction seamlessly marries the zesty brightness of lemons with the rich, creamy decadence of butter. The result? A sauce that perfectly balances acidity and richness, enhancing the flavor of any fish it graces.
Ingredients You’ll Need
To craft the perfect lemon butter sauce for your fish, gather the following ingredients:
For the Lemon Butter Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for a subtle kick)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Fish:
- 4 fillets of your favorite white fish (such as cod, halibut, or snapper)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil for pan-searing
Making the Lemon Butter Sauce
Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients
Gather all the ingredients for your lemon butter sauce. Having everything ready will make the cooking process smooth and stress-free.
Step 2: Sauté the Garlic
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute until fragrant. Be careful not to let the garlic brown.
Step 3: Add Lemon Juice and Zest
Pour in the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir well to combine. The acidity of the lemon juice will cut through the richness of the butter, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
Step 4: Season and Simmer
Season the sauce with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper if you desire a hint of spice. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 5-7 minutes, or until it thickens slightly.
Step 5: Finish with Fresh Parsley
Turn off the heat and stir in the finely chopped fresh parsley. The vibrant green color and herbaceous aroma will complement the lemony goodness of the sauce.
Cooking the Perfect Fish
Step 6: Season and Sear the Fish
Season your fish fillets generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a separate skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets and sear for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through and have a beautiful golden crust.
Step 7: Drizzle with Lemon Butter Sauce
Transfer the seared fish to serving plates. Drizzle the killer lemon butter sauce generously over each fillet. The warm sauce will infuse the fish with its delectable flavors.
There you have it – a killer lemon butter sauce that can transform any fish dish into a gourmet masterpiece. The marriage of zesty lemons and creamy butter creates a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving more. Elevate your culinary skills by mastering this versatile sauce, and watch as it takes your fish recipes to the next level.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use salted butter for the sauce?
While it’s best to use unsalted butter to control the saltiness, you can use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand. Just adjust the added salt accordingly.
2. What other dishes can I pair this lemon butter sauce with?
This sauce isn’t limited to fish; it’s fantastic with seafood, chicken, vegetables, or even pasta. Get creative!
3. Can I make the sauce in advance?
Absolutely! You can prepare the lemon butter sauce ahead of time and reheat it gently when needed.
4. Is there a vegan alternative to butter for this sauce?
Yes, you can use a high-quality vegan butter substitute to create a dairy-free version of this sauce.
5. Can I freeze the sauce?
Lemon butter sauce is best enjoyed fresh, but you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to two months. Just thaw and reheat when ready to use.
Lemon Butter Sauce:
- 60 g / 4 tbsp unsalted butter , cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and finely ground pepper
Crispy Pan Fried Fish:
- 2 x thin white fish fillets (120-150g / 4-5oz each), skinless boneless (I used Bream, Note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp white flour
- 2 tbsp oil (I use canola)
- Lemon wedges
- Finely chopped parsley, optional
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE
- Place the butter in a light coloured saucepan or small skillet over medium heat.
- Melt butter then leave on the stove, whisking / stirring very now and then. When the butter turns golden brown and it smells nutty - about 3 minutes, remove from stove immediately and pour into small bowl. (Note 2)
- Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir then taste when it has cooled slightly. Adjust lemon/salt to taste.
- Set aside - it will stay pourable for 20 - 30 minutes. See Note 3 for storing.
CRISPY PAN FRIED FISH:
- Pat fish dry using paper towels. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then flour. Use fingers to spread flour. Turn and repeat. Shake excess flour off well, slapping between hands if necessary.
- Heat oil in a non stick skillet over high heat. When the oil is shimmering and there are faint wisps of smoke, add fish. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes until golden and crispy on the edges, then turn and cook the other side for 1 1/2 minutes (cook longer if you have thicker fillets).
- Remove immediately onto serving plates. Drizzle each with about 1 tbsp of Sauce (avoid dark specks settled at the bottom of the bowl), garnish with parsley and serve with lemon on the side.
1. I like using this sauce for thin fillets because I find you get the best sauce to flesh coverage, and also because thin fillets tend to mean less fish (the sea bream in the photos are only around 120g/4oz each) so you're not having to pour over loads of Sauce (it is quite rich). I also love how the edges of thin fish fillets go nice and crispy!
Having said that though, this sauce is suitable for almost any white fish fillet, but I'd avoid rich, oily fish like salmon and mackerel.
FROZEN FISH is also fine - thaw thoroughly and pat very well with paper towels to remove excess water.
2. BROWNING BUTTER: At first, it will spit a bit (water in butter cooking out), then it will bubble, then it will foam. Little brown bits will start appearing on the base of the pan - THEN you will smell the nuttiness. Smell is the most important sign - when it smells amazing, take it right off!
3. Storing Brown Butter: You'll only need around 1 tbsp of Sauce per serving - it's very rich - but this recipe makes slightly more because it's hard to make a smaller quantity. Use leftovers to jazz up vegetables, mashed potato, or even spread on toast! Refrigerate and use within 1 week, or freeze. To use as Sauce, microwave in 10 second increments.
4. GENERAL NOTE: If you're an experienced cook, you can try your hand at making the sauce in the pan after cooking the fish. First wipe it clean (yes you lose pan flavour, but it's nice to have a "clean" looking sauce), lower heat then make the sauce once the pan has cooled. I personally find it easier to make the Sauce first in a smaller pan - easier to control colour change. Also I like using my black non stick pan for the fish and you can't see the colour of the butter in dark coloured pans.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 2
Amount Per ServingCalories 921Total Fat 76gSaturated Fat 31gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 41gCholesterol 272mgSodium 1068mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 4gSugar 3gProtein 41g
The information contained herein is subject to change.