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This delicious pan-seared orange roughy is made with fish seared in butter and oil, and then served with a lemon and caper pan sauce.
Pan-searing is one of my favorite techniques for a sure-to-be-delicious fish dinner.
It’s perfect for catfish, hake, haddock, salmon steaks, grouper, black cod, and more.
Pan-searing is fairly quick, and when done right, it helps keep the fish tender and juicy! A little butter, oil, and flour ensure a mouth-watering result.
This pan-seared orange roughy is easy to make, and includes a lemon and caper sauce to brighten up the flavor.
What Does Orange Roughy Taste Like?
It’s a mild, slightly sweet white fish. It’s flaky and delicate!
Want more white fish recipes? Try pan-seared rockfish, panko lingcod, blackened halibut with a spicy yogurt sauce, or a cod reuben sandwich.
How Can I Find Sustainably Caught Fish?
Since orange roughy is slow to mature, it’s vulnerable to overfishing.
Look for the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) check on the packaging to be sure that it meets high sustainability standards.
Can I Make This Gluten-Free?
This recipe uses flour, but it’s absolutely fine to swap in a gluten-free all-purpose variety!
When I do gluten-free cooking, I like Cup 4 Cup as a substitute.
You can also skip the flour if you prefer, though the fish may not sear quite as well.
How to Make Pan-Seared Orange Roughy
Pat the fillets dry, and then coat them in some flour, salt and pepper.
In a heavy pan, melt butter and olive oil. I like this Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet.
Cook the breaded fillets for about three minutes.
Test the fish to see if it’s ready to flip by sliding a spatula underneath each fillet. If they release, they’re ready. If not, let them cook a bit longer.
The Wusthof fish spatula is great for this task. A lot of people also like this Toadfish fish spatula.
After you’ve flipped the fish, add more butter to the top of each fillet.
Cook the fillets for another few minutes, until they are golden on the top and bottom and opaque all the way through.
When done, move the fish to plates. Cover to keep them warm while you make a quick pan sauce.
For the sauce, stir lemon juice, capers, and the butter that was left in the pan. Add whatever herbs you’re using. When the sauce is warm, pour it over the fish and serve right away!
Need side dishes to go with your pan-seared orange roughy? We suggest some black rice (stovetop or in the Instant Pot), a brussels sprouts salad with tahini dressing, or some roasted carrots. Enjoy!
Pan-Seared Orange Roughy
- 8 ounce orange roughy (2 fillets)
- 1 tablespoon flour Use gluten-free AP flour if needed
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- small handful fresh herbs (such as fresh rosemary, chives, or oregano)
- Pat orange roughy fillets dry. Dust with flour, and shake off any excess. Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.Prepare a heavy pan with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat on medium-high until butter is melted but not browned, then turn the heat down to medium.
- Place the fillets in the pan and cook about 3 minutes. Don't touch the fillets until they're ready to flip.Use a thin metal spatula to test the fish. If you can slide the spatula under the fish without the fish sticking to the pan, it's ready to flip. If the fillets won't release, give them another 30 seconds. They'll release when they've finished cooking.After flipping, divide the remaining 1 TB butter over both fillets.
- Cook fish another 2-3 minutes until done. Fish will be golden on both the top and bottom and opaque all the way through when finished cooking.Transfer the fish to plates, leaving the excess butter in the pan. Cover fish to keep warm, or set fish in a 200ºF oven.Reduce heat to medium. Add the lemon juice and capers, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add half the herbs and stir again. Serve fish hot with pan sauce and remaining herbs.
Made this as a dinner for one, and will make it again! Love the little bit of crunchiness from the flour coating on the fish.