Pan-Seared Rockfish with Lemon Caper Sauce

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Pan-Seared Rockfish, dredged in seasoned flour and served with a lemon caper sauce is a delicious, restaurant-style dish that you can have on your dinner table in less than 20 minutes. Just make sure to make extra, you won’t be able to stop eating this delicious fish!

pan seared rockfish with a lemon caper sauce on a white plate with asparagus and lemon circles

My pan-seared rockfish recipe couldn’t be easier to make. The cooking method and light sauce let the delicate flavors of that mild white fish shine through. Making it the perfect date night meal or when guests come over to dinner.

It’s one of my favorite ways to prepare this delicious fish.

pan seared rockfish with a lemon caper sauce on a white plate

I bet you didn’t know that rockfish is a name that’s used to describe close to 70 different species of fish. Have you ever had rock cod or Pacific snapper? Well, those can also be categorized as rockfish. That’s why I always look for Alaskan Rockfish, it never disappoints.

Alaskan Rockfish is a mild whitefish that is somewhere between Cod and Halibut. Like most whitefish, rockfish has a flaky texture and mild flavor. It’s perfect fried, broiled, grilled or pan sauteed. It also makes delicious rockfish tacos!

What ingredients do I need to make Pan-Seared Rockfish?

ingredients to make pan seared rockfish

Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Pan Seared Rockfish with a lemon caper sauce. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.

Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.

How do I make Pan Seared Rockfish?

rockfish fillets seasoned with sea salt and black pepper

The first step is to liberally season the rockfish fillets with sea salt and black pepper.

*You can also season the rockfish with lemon pepper, cajun seasoning, or your favorite spices.

seasoned flour in a white bowl

Next prepare the seasoned flour by adding ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour).

rockfish fillets coated with seasoned flour on a white platter

Dredge the rockfish in the flour, coating both sides of the rockfish filets.

How do I cook the rockfish fillets?

*Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. to use as a holding oven.

olive oil and butter in a large saute pan

Prepare the saute pan or large skillet, by placing it over medium-high heat with one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil)

Once the butter has melted, turn the temperature down to medium heat. Make sure not to let the butter/oil mixture get brown before adding fish to the pan.

rockfish in saute pan, seared side is up

Place the floured rockfish in the hot pan, cooking on the first side for 3-4 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn it over too soon, you want that delicious crunch and golden brown color that comes from not moving the fillets around.

Turn the rockfish over and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes. When the pan-seared rockfish is fully cooked, place it on a baking sheet and into the preheated 250-degree oven while you make the lemon caper sauce.

How do I make Lemon Caper Sauce?

two images showing how to make lemon caper sauce
  • Add the butter, shallots and capers, to a saute pan or medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the butter burn!
  • Add the lemon juice and either an ounce of white wine of chicken stock to the pan.
  • When the liquids are hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter rolled in flour (beurre manie) to the pan. This will thicken the sauce.

*If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water, chicken stock or if you want to take the sauce to the next level, a little heavy cream. You can even add your favorite fresh herbs to the sauce for extra flavor.

pan seared rockfish with a lemon caper sauce on a white plate

Serve the lemon caper sauce over the pan-seared rockfish. garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Recipe FAQ’s

How do you pan-sear fish without it sticking to the pan?

Make sure the pan is hot before you add the fish to the pan will ensure that the fish will not stick and will give you a perfect flavorful crust. Heat your pan on medium-high heat, then add a small amount of oil and butter. When the oil and butter start to shimmer add the fish to the pan.

Can I pan-sear fish without using flour?

Yes, you can.
While flour is generally the first choice for pan-searing fish, you can use finely ground cornmeal instead. To create that crunchy exterior we love, dip the fish in milk or beaten eggs before dredging the fillets in cornmeal.

What does rockfish taste like?

Rockfish is a mild whitefish that is somewhere between Cod and Halibut. Like most whitefish, rockfish has a flaky texture and mild flavor. It’s perfect fried, broiled, grilled or pan sauteed. It also makes delicious rockfish tacos!

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pan seared rockfish with a lemon caper sauce on a white plate

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Pan Seared Rockfish Recipe

My pan-seared rockfish recipe couldn’t be easier to make. The cooking method and light sauce let the delicate flavors of that mild white fish shine through. Making it the perfect date night meal or when guests come over to dinner.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time14 mins

Course: Entree

Cuisine: American, French

Servings: 2

Calories: 715kcal

Author: Chef Dennis Littley

Ingredients

Rockfish

  • 14 ounce rockfish 2 fillets
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 1 tbsp shallots finely chopped – optional
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 ounces white wine or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp flour to roll butter in
  • 1 tsp Italian parsley finely chopped

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Instructions

  • Pat rockfish fillets dry with paper towels and season them liberally with sea salt and black pepper.

  • Dredge the rockfish filets in all-purpose flour, getting a good coating on both sides.*Gluten-free flour can be substituted.
  • In a large saute pan (or cast iron pan) add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Lower the heat to medium.*Don’t let the butter get brown.
  • Place the floured rockfish in the hot pan, cooking on the first side for 3-4 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn it over too soon, you want that delicious crunch and golden brown color that comes from not moving the fillets around.

  • Turn the rockfish over and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes. When the pan-seared rockfish is fully cooked, place it on a baking sheet and into a preheated 250-degree oven while you make the lemon caper sauce.

  • Add the butter, shallots and capers, to a saute pan or medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the butter burn!

  • Add the lemon juice and either an ounce of white wine or chicken stock to the pan.

  • When the liquids are hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter rolled in flour (beurre manie) to the pan. This will thicken the sauce.

  • Serve the lemon caper sauce over the pan-seared rockfish. garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Notes

*You can also season the rockfish with lemon pepper, cajun seasoning, or your favorite spices.
*If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water, chicken stock or if you want to take the sauce to the next level, a little heavy cream. You can even add your favorite fresh herbs to the sauce for extra flavor.

How do you pan-sear fish without it sticking to the pan?
Make sure the pan is hot before you add the fish to the pan will ensure that the fish will not stick and will give you a perfect flavorful crust. Heat your pan on medium-high heat, then add a small amount of oil and butter. When the oil and butter start to shimmer add the fish to the pan.
Can I pan-sear fish without using flour?
Yes, you can.
While flour is generally the first choice for pan-searing fish, you can use finely ground cornmeal instead. To create that crunchy exterior we love, dip the fish in milk or beaten eggs before dredging the fillets in cornmeal.
What does rockfish taste like?
Rockfish is a mild whitefish that is somewhere between Cod and Halibut. Like most whitefish, rockfish has a flaky texture and mild flavor. It’s perfect fried, broiled, grilled or pan sauteed. It also makes delicious rockfish tacos!

Nutrition

Calories: 715kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 259mg | Sodium: 2847mg | Potassium: 1741mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 808IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg



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