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Pan-Seared Grouper with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce

- Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

This is the secret to restaurant-quality fish. The magic happens on the bottom of the pan where the fish forms an even, crisp crust. The sauce seals the deal.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yields: MAKES 4 servings

Ingredients

4 (4- to 6-oz.) fresh grouper fillets

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 425°. Pat fish dry with paper towels, and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place fillets, top side down, in hot oil. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer skillet to oven.

Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes or until fish is opaque. Remove skillet from oven, and place fish, seared side up, on a platter.

Wipe skillet clean. Cook butter in skillet over medium heat 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Pour butter into a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

SEARING IS BEST FOR: Nearly any type of fish, but is easiest with firm fillets that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, such as grouper, halibut, sea bass, and striped bass.

EXPERT ADVICE: Make sure the pan is hot before adding fish. Press very lightly with a spatula while cooking for even searing.

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