Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Hands-on Time
20 Mins
Total Time
30 Mins
MAKES 4 servings

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.

How to Make It

Step 1

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

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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

Ratings & Reviews

September 29, 2015
Did you leave the skin on the fish? Looks delicious!

Best Fish Ever

November 24, 2018
Can't wait to make it again. I didn't have shallots so I used green onions. Served it with brown rice mushrooms and asparagus.  


March 18, 2019
After butter is melted and other ingredients added do you just pour over fish? So used to sautéing things like shallots.


June 17, 2015
This was wonderful-very flavorful & moist!  I served it with a mesclun/pickled beet & feta salad.

Grouper Fillets with Brown Butter-balsamic- shallot-lemon sauce

January 03, 2016
Outstanding - just finished our dinner - grouper fillets from Apalachicola's 13 Mile seafood and "left over" collards with with a little country ham that we had for our New Year's dinner.  The brown butter, balsamic vinegar, shallot, lemon juice sauce was great on the fillets and on the Basmati rice we prepared.  Thanks!