This delicious pan-seared rockfish is made with fish seared in butter and oil, and then served with a lemon and caper pan sauce.
This year has had its ups and downs, but for us there has been one constant.
We’ve had a freezer full of amazing seafood.
Since we knew we’d be home (not traveling) for quite some time, we signed up for monthly seafood deliveries from a CSF (community supported fishery).
And guys, it’s made the year a little bit easier.
If you’re looking for a CSF to join, I can highly recommend the one we joined, Sitka Salmon Shares. They did not sponsor this post and I do not make money if you sign up, I’ve simply been really pleased with them!
One of our monthly fish deliveries included black rockfish (or black bass). We immediately made blackened rockfish tacos (yum!), but next I wanted to try a recipe where I could taste the rockfish more clearly.
This pan-seared rockfish is based on one of my all-time favorite fish recipes, Julia Child’s fish meunière (fish in butter sauce), and is served with an easy lemon caper sauce.
What Does Rockfish Taste Like?
It depends on the type of rockfish you’re buying!
The black rockfish I used was a mild, flaky fish.
In the past, I’ve purchased Pacific rockfish at Aldi that had a somewhat stronger flavor profile. It was still quite tasty.
Can I Make This Pan-Seared Rockfish Gluten-Free?
Before pan-searing the rockfish, you’ll dust the fish with flour. All-purpose gluten-free flour, such as Cup 4 Cup, will work perfectly.
Can I Skip the Flour?
Yes, you can.
The sear on the fish will be slightly less golden.
How to Make Pan-Seared Rockfish
Start by patting the fish dry and lightly dusting it with flour. Season the fish with salt and set aside.
Next, heat butter and olive oil in a heavy pan. I like to use this Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet.
Place the fish into the pan, and avoid trying to move the fish. Don’t touch it yet.
After about three minutes, use a metal spatula to test the fish. Ideally, use a fish spatula.
Try to slide the spatula under the fish.
If the rockfish releases easily from the pan, flip it. If it doesn’t, try again in a few seconds.
It will release when the bottom of the fish is done cooking.
After you flip the fish, top each fillet with a little more butter.
Cook the rockfish for another couple minutes, and then remove it from the pan.
How to Make the Pan-Sauce
To make the sauce, add lemon juice and capers to the hot pan.
Use a wooden spoon to stir, scraping up any bits of fish stuck to the pan. Stir in some fresh herbs, and it’s ready!
Top the pan-seared rockfish with the lemon caper pan-sauce and a few more fresh herbs.
- 8 oz rockfish (2 fillets)
- 1 TB flour Use gluten-free AP flour if needed
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 TB butter, divided
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 TB capers
- small handful fresh herbs (such as fresh rosemary, chives, or oregano)
- Pat rockfish 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 TB 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.